The President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall, has warned that legal aid for private law proceedings may be abolished as an outcome of the Family Justice Review.
In his speech yesterday 20/09/10 to the annual volunteers' conference of shared parenting charity Families Need Fathers, Sir Nicholas said: "The impression I have gained so far is that the government is likely to invest heavily in the outcome of the Family Justice Review currently underway.
"Be under no illusions. The recommendations are likely to be radical. There are no sacred cows. I have no idea what the final recommendations will be, but you do not need a crystal ball to see that legal aid for private law proceedings is likely to be further diminished if not abolished: that long and protracted contact and residence disputes will become things of the past, and that out of court mediation and conciliation will be encouraged"
Writing in the September issue of the Government Gazette a junior justice minister, Jonathan Djanogly, said that mediation should be used more as an alternative to using courts in family justice disputes.
Sir Nicholas expanded on this: "The [government's] current position, as I understand it, is that parties (whether publicly funded or not) will be required to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting as a precondition for instituting proceedings. In other words, before a party can institute proceedings he or she will have to show that mediation has been attempted and has failed."
As someone who has campaigned for over 6 years, I am inclined to say give this Government a chance here and don't let our pre-conceived ideas to date, all be it fully justified, detract from what could be our golden oppertunity to find justice at last. Don't allow their apathy and hope that we won't take it too seriously once again let them get away with this maybe it is not a whitewash or a fudge!
The best responce we can offer, and see it as a protest if you like, is to submit our claims that we have been unfairly treated in the Family Court and at least we should see some reform in a year from know and who knows claims for some reconpence?