High Court judge Mr Justice Baker has hailed the importance of specialist family solicitors and barristers.
Speaking at the conclusion of a case in which he had dismissed an application for care orders by Devon County Council, the judge noted the level of specialist knowledge displayed by counsel in the case and declared:
“…this case demonstrates again the crucial role played by the specialist family bar and solicitors.”
He contrasted this with litigants in person, saying:
“All judges are very concerned at the prospect of an increase in self-represented litigants and the consequences for the family justice system. Not enough recognition is given to the contribution to the family justice system made by family lawyers.”
Without the contribution of specialist family lawyers in similar cases, “it would be impossible to ensure that justice is done”, declared the judge.
The case was also an illustration of the fact that some family law cases would take longer than 26 weeks, said Mr Justice Baker, but such cases would be “a small minority”, “exceptional cases, where the investigation takes longer.”
Lord Justice Ryder set out a 26 week timetable for most family law cases in his report Judicial Proposals for the Modernisation of Family Justice, which was published last year.