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New guidance issued for Justices’ Reasons in the Family Proceedings Court

Guidance addresses criticism by Pauffley J in Re NL

The Justices' Clerks Society and Magistrates' Association have issued revised guidance in respect of Justices' Reasons in the Family Proceedings Court in uncontested cases.

The revision follows the comments of Mrs Justice Pauffley in Re NL (A Child) (Appeal Interim Care Order: Facts and Reasons) [2014] EWHC 270. In that case Pauffley J had  deprecated the widespread practice in care proceedings in the family proceedings court by which parties, usually the local authority, draft the 'Facts and Reasons' which are then adopted by the Justices. The President had endorsed the judge's comments.

The new guidance revises part of the November 2007 Joint Guidance in relation to Justices' Reasons in the Family Proceedings Court. The section entitled "Good Practice in Relation to Uncontested Cases" as reproduced on page 248 of the Family Proceedings Court Bench Book is no longer sustainable and should be discarded. The updated guidance is as follows:

A) Public Law 

B) Private law 

The President of the Family Division has approved this Guidance.

21/3/14