Opening Up the Family Courts: Transparency in the Family Court and Court of Protection, Sir James Munby, 2013

Speech here by Lord Justice Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales on the need for transparency in the family court system which has jurisdiction over care proceedings, including for forced adoption and foster care. Note that the call for reform of the UK care system comes not just from lay members of the public, but even from senior judges, indeed the senior-most judge in the system. Links to some other speeches by Sir James Munby are given below. We recommend these to lawyers as they these seemingly bland technical proposals from this extraordinary judge actually build, or rather re-build, piece-by-piece, the checks and balances and other restraints of natural justice, due process, fairness and reasonableness, which were once the hallmarks of the British justice system, but were broken down or ignored by overzealous child protection legislation. Despite all his efforts, Lord Justice Sir James Munby, who is due to retire in a few months, was not able to implement many of these proposals. But they are important reading to understand how a sensible and open society such as Britain, came to foster the secret state which is its child protection system.

After this speech, Sir James Munby issued Practice Guidelines for Transparency in the Family Courts dated 16 January 2014 here

Except as stated otherwise, all links here are publications of the website of the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

Lord Justice Sir James Munby on the UK care system:

On taking evidence from children in family court proceedings, January 2017 here

On Settlement Conference and the Tandem Model, August, 2016, here

Including points about experts in baby shaking cases, August 2014, here

On McKenzie friends, litigants in person, experts and other issues, 2014, here

Family Court Guide drafted under the supervision of Sir James Munby here

Early reform proposals and comments on family courts and care agencies here

Draft guidance on transparency, 2013, here

Rules for family orders, 2013, here

Use of experts on care cases, here

Rules for the local authority’s submissions to court, here

Agenda for reform issued just after Sir James Munby was appointed President of the Family Division, January 2013, here

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