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Lord Chief Justice’s report marks the increase in rise of PIPs

Report reviews the work of courts over the last year

The latest Lord Chief Justice's report has been laid before the House of Lords. The Report focuses on the work of the courts and on the wide range of statutory responsibilities which guide his role.

In the section relating to the family courts, the Lord Chief Justice notes the increase in the use of parenting information programmes (PIPS), employed at an early stage of proceedings in disputes concerning residence and contact arrangements.

He says that initially, there was slow take up of this power (950 in the first year). However, with experience there has been a marked increase in the use of PIPs. In the year to April 2011 13,000 parents attended a PIP. This number increased to 18,279 in 2011-12.

Research conducted in early 2011 with parents referred to PIPs found that despite initial reservations, most parents reported finding the experience of attending a parenting programme entirely acceptable and generally supportive. Recommendations focussed on how the programme providers could further develop the PIPs to assist parents to resolve their differences away from the court, where it is safe to do so.

Lord Judge also notes in his introduction:

"Notwithstanding the concerns expressed by the Senior Salaries Review Body about the potential impact on morale of the steady reduction in value of their terms and conditions visited on the judiciary over a number of years, judges continue to respond to and deal with these additional demands on their time."