President of Family Division tells new family lawyers: “We have to embrace technology.”

Over 200 family lawyers and other family justice professionals at the start of their careers gathered today (Thursday) in Central London, to take part in Resolution’s inaugural national YRes conference.

The conference, aimed at those with up to ten years’ Post-Qualified Experience (PQE), heard from a range of speakers.

Among those speaking was the President of the Family Division, Rt Hon Sir James Munby, who spoke of the need for the family justice system to recognise that people increasingly expect to access services online.

Whilst acknowledging that not every case was suitable for online hearings (particularly care cases), the President said that more cases would be resolved using digital technology in the future, saying:

“When faced with the choice of opening a laptop in the kitchen, and talking to a judge via Skype; or running the gauntlet of travelling to a crumbling court building which may be many miles away – what do you think the litigant would prefer?”

He also spoke of the need to embrace electronic file management, warning the audience: “If we lose the current opportunity we will still be on paper files when you’re coming up to your retirement.”

Members also heard from about the changing nature of family justice; how to incorporate dispute resolution into practices; negotiation and communication; as well as a panel discussion looking at what family law will look like in 2025.

YRes was launched by Resolution to support members who are at the beginning of their careers, and plays a prominent role in the organisation – with YRes members sitting on committees (including National Committee). There are also more than 24 active local YRes groups around the country.

National YRes Chair, Sarah Green, said:
“When you’re starting out in the world of family justice, it can be really daunting and intimidating, particularly as you rely so much on building networks with others who are far further on and more established in their practices.

“That’s why YRes is here, to provide a network for those starting out in their careers, sharing best practice and expertise, supporting each other, and strengthening professional relationships locally and across the country.

Resolution’s Vice-Chair, Margaret Heathcote, said:

“The attendance here today is testament to the appeal of YRes and the need for this tailored support for those at the start of their career. I’m proud of the role Resolution has played in promoting the next generation of family justice professionals.

“Under Sarah’s leadership, and with the support of so many brilliant members she works with, I know YRes will continue to go from strength to strength.”