The family law system is undergoing the “most radical reforms in a lifetime”, according to a senior judge.
In a recently published statement, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, said ongoing reforms to family justice in the UK were “nothing short of revolutionary”.
He stressed his determination to focus on transparency within the family justice system. “I am determined to take steps to improve access to and reporting of family proceedings. I am determined that the new Family Court should not be saddled, as the family courts are at present, with the charge that we are a system of secret and unaccountable justice.”
The judge also emphasised the role of magistrates in the forthcoming ‘single family court’. Due for introduction in April 2014, this will see magistrates and judges of different levels sitting in the same courts.
“I have never accepted,” wrote Sir James Munby, “that Magistrates are unsuited for family work or, in particular, for public law cases. Quite the contrary. So Magistrates will play a vitally important part as judges in the Family Court.”
Sir James Munby became President of the Family Division earlier this year following the retirement of Sir Nicholas Wall.
Lord Justice Ryder recently made similar remarks, describing a “revolutionary culture of change” within the family justice system.