The changes being made to the family law system are a “revolution” Sir James Munby has said.
On Tuesday the 22nd April the ‘single family court’ will be introduced which will replace the family proceedings court.
The single family court will not exist as its own separate building or location, it will be an entity that can sit anywhere in England and Wales. It will most likely sit in county or magistrates’ court buildings.
Lay justices will continue to have a place in the family court, dealing with similar types of cases as they did in the family proceedings court.
In the recently published 11th View from the President’s Chamber, Sir James Munby said:
“Central to this revolution has been – has had to be – a fundamental change in the cultures of the family courts. This is truly a cultural revolution.”
The family courts stand “on the cusp of history” and the changes due on April 22nd mark “the largest reform of the family justice system any of us have seen or will see in our professional lifetimes.”
In addition to the introduction of the single family court, Tuesday will also herald other significant changes to the family law system:
MAIM – Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings
April 22 will see the introduction of compulsory attendance at a MIAM – mediation information and assessment meeting – for anyone planning to take a family dispute to court. People attending such meetings will be provided with information on mediation as an alternative way to resolve their differences. During these meetings parties will also be assessed to ascertain if mediation is suitable in their case.
Child Arrangement Orders
Child arrangement orders will replace residence and contact orders which are currently used to settle the circumstances of children following divorce or separation.