26 week timetable for care cases is ‘tyranny’, judge claims

Family Law|News|November 6th 2013

The 26 week timetable for care cases set out in the Children and Families Bill has been condemned as “tyranny” by a district judge.

Nicholas Crichton, who helped found the Family Drug and Alcohol Court in London, said the 26 week timetable had become too rigid and was “taking over outcomes”.  He told the Law Society Gazette:

“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.”

The Children and Families Bill, currently at committee stage in the House of Lords, will amend the Children Act 1989 to formally introduce the 26 week timetable for care and supervision orders.

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.”

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  1. Stitchedup says:

    To go with the “quicky divorce” we now have “the quicky care case”. We seem to be in such a rush to decimate families in this country.

  2. sheila oneill says:

    Legal child snatching. If it can be called legal as many social workers will lie and build false profiles on parents in family courts. For any lay person this would be contempt of court and perjury under oath and jury. But social workers have immunity and only have to state ‘said in good faith’ which gives social workers the right to remove children at will.
    And all the while many Judges have flawed reputations.
    Wronged parents will be investigating those that wrongly remove children, social workers who fail in their duty of care or are in contempt or commit perjury and Judges that choose to ignor it.

    The family courts need to be open nand accountable. Immunity should be removed for social workers and anyone giving false information to a family court.

  3. vob re says:

    I have recently spoken to an x Social worker, who regrets
    ever being a part of this shocking system, who now has to live with the knowledge has contributed to children being removed from families where more could have been done.
    Filled with a sense of guilt, that is overwhelming having now a family.

  4. malloch says:

    A case i know, if the 26 week rule had been applied the potential adoptees would have ended up with a child with an incurable genetic condition that was missed by all.

  5. Stitchedup says:

    Any chance I could have my comment reinstated please?? positively timid compared to the above.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I generally agree with Sheila, but it is sad that so many mothers are only too keen to rely on the social services’ false profiles about fathers if it helps them secure residency and maintenance in private proceedings.

  7. Stitchedup says:

    “The family courts need to be open nand accountable. Immunity should be removed for social workers and anyone giving false information to a family court.”

    I agree, this immunity and impunity for giving false information or making false allegations has gone too far.

  8. Luke says:

    “I generally agree with Sheila”

    I think everybody agrees with Sheila 🙂

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