The 26 week timetable for care cases set out in the Children and Families Bill has been condemned as “tyranny” by a district judge.
“We know parties who have successfully had their children returned home, but who would have had them adopted under the 26-week timetable – it’s as tough as that.’
He added: “I acknowledge the need to be quicker and more efficient, but the pendulum has swung too far.”
Judge Crichton encouraged solicitors to appeal family court decisions if they believe judges have not recognised harm caused to their clients by rigid adherence to the 26 week timetable.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice spokesperson responded to the judge’s comments:
“Excessive delays can have a damaging effect on already vulnerable children. We are changing the law to bring in a 26-week time limit for care proceedings so there is a much clearer focus on the child and their needs and cases don’t get caught up in unnecessary delay. The legislation will meet the need to tackle delay in all cases, while allowing sufficient judicial discretion to extend time where necessary to resolve cases justly.”