Children and young people being given a chance to express their views on the Family Justice System

The law relating to children is contained primarily in The Children Act 1989 which came into force on 14th October 1991. The Act introduced dramatic changes in the law relating to children in that public law (matters with social services involvement) and private law (matters surrounding contact, residence and parental responsibility) in that these matters were now governed under the same statute.

When the Court makes decisions with respect to the upbringing of a child it must consider the welfare of the child by applying a checklist which is set out in section 1(3) of The Children Act 1989. The court has to consider the following:-

  1. the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding)
  1. his physical, emotional and educational needs
  2. the likely effect of any change in his  circumstances
  3. his age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant
  4. any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of  suffering
  5. how capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs
  6. the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in question.

Bearing in mind the nature of Children Act proceedings which can often be acrimonious and as a result unsettling for the children, the government has in a new move invited children to give their views on the justice system. The Family Justice Review Panel has invited children to give their views on how the system can be changed to better meet their needs.

A ‘young people’s guide’ to the Family Justice Review has been compiled by Roger Morgan, the Children’s Rights Director for England. Its aim is to assist young people to respond to the issues raised in the Family Justice Review’s interim report which makes proposals to tackle problems in the Family Justice System.

emeryjohnson have a team of specialist solicitors and clerks who can assist you with any problems you may have which involve your children. Should you require any advice or representation please contact the Family or Care teams on 0116 2554855.

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