Some Cuts are Long Overdue

In the last year the UK Family Courts have been criticised by British MPs and the governments of foreign countries such as Slovakia. The Norgrove Report described it as “a system that is not a system, characterised by mutual distrust and a lack of leadership, by incoherence and without solid evidence based knowledge about how it really works”. Now the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services has joined in the chorus of complaints. The Witchfinder calls for change.

The Government has no money. Thanks to the reckless mismanagement of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair’s discredited government the incoming coalition have been forced to make cut after cut against services that many rely on. Curiously however there is one black pit of government waste that has escaped almost unscathed.

I refer of course to the Family Courts. The existence of such an institution in some form is a necessary evil. As a law student I am often asked for my help and sadly, about 75% of the time on looking at the case I would be driven to make the same decision as the social workers or the judge. The problem is that with the other 25% where the decision was wrong or arguable the system makes it hard to challenge social services or Court decisions. In nearly 100% of the cases it is too slow and vastly too expensive for public and parent alike.

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