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Law Society calls for proper resources for changes in family courts

Law Society fears a ‘perfect storm’ of cuts and delays

The Law Society has said that any radical and sustained change to the family justice system will require a delicate balancing act from the government, which is expected to announce its response to the Family Justice Review next week.

 Law Society Chief Executive Desmond Hudson said:

"Children are at the heart of family justice and their welfare must remain paramount.

"Delays in care cases amount to a national disgrace - children most in need of society's care are being failed. The recommendations in the Norgrove Review could contribute significantly to reducing these delays, if properly funded and implemented.

"The government's response will be critical in ensuring that a balance is struck between improving efficiency in the courts, while ensuring that this is not at the expense of the welfare of children.

"Change will require commitment from everyone – judges, lawyers, social workers and the court service – and particularly from the government, because change must be resourced.

"The government response will come at a difficult time for the family justice system. Cuts in legal aid fees will mean fewer family lawyers available to help people; cuts in legal aid eligibility will mean more people going to court unrepresented, taking up huge amounts of court time, just when court staff and facilities are being cut dramatically – all leading towards more, not less, delay. This has the makings of a perfect storm.

"The government needs to ensure that ambitious and necessary reforms are given the time and resources that they deserve."