Judge Says More Children Should Have Voices Heard In Family Court

Specialist Lawyers Say Children Should Be At The Heart Of Family Law Decisions


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Expert family lawyers have welcomed comments from a Court of Appeal judge who said that more children should have their voices heard to explain their feelings in court.

Sir James Munby shared his thoughts in a ruling on a case in which a 14-year-old girl complained she was deprived of her right to participate and that the judge did not meet with her.

The judge said it was acknowledged that the approach to children giving evidence should change sooner rather than later.

Specialist family lawyers at Irwin Mitchell welcomed his comments but urged caution over which family cases children were asked to participate in.

Expert Opinion
“We welcome the Judge’s view that more children should be given a voice in the family courts but clearly it is important to note the distinction between matters involving child arrangements and divorce-finance cases, where children should be shielded from wrangling over money, houses and possessions etc.

“Children should certainly have a voice when it comes to who they should live with or spend time with where appropriate. The Cafcass welfare report is the current tool used to ascertain the child’s wishes and feelings but if the child is emotionally mature enough and expresses a desire to do so, they should have the opportunity to be heard directly, whether via a conversation with the Judge, a letter to the Judge or giving evidence in court.

"It is encouraging to see this highlighted by senior family judiciary and is a continuation of the desire to encourage parents to settle any disputes more amicably with children at the heart of any decision-making.”
Rebecca Harling, Solicitor

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