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Family business

Greater cooperation between the parties to family proceedings is required to give full effect to the latest interim guidance and reduce delays, says DJ Michael Buckley

15 September 2009

The Interim Guidance issued by the president of the Family Division on 30 July 2009 is the culmination of an initiative led by the senior family judiciary – to which both the Courts Service and Cafcass are parties – to address the increasing delays from Cafcass. It sets out short-term measures which are to be reviewed in March 2010, although it also includes permanent elements of good practice.

Where there is a backlog of overdue reports, the courts along with Cafcass will review the cases concerned. Is it possible to direct a refinement of the issues for the report ordered under section 7 of the Children Act 1989, abandon the request because of a change in the child’s circumstances or bring the matter back before the court for further directions?

The aim is to reduce the backlog by prioritising the cases based upon the child’s current welfare needs. Practitioners, therefore, should not just wait for a report, but anticipate the questions the court may address;...

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