Changes to family court system come into force

Changes have been made to the family court system with the aim of improving standards and speeding up the process.

The new measures mean that only the most qualified, experienced and recognised professionals will be allowed to give evidence in family cases where children are involved.

These expert witnesses can only give evidence if the judge believes it is necessary to resolve the case properly and fairly.

The changes, which came into force on 1 October 2014, were developed by the government and the Family Justice Council and are designed to improve the quality of expert witnesses and speed up proceedings.

Government figures show that the average family law case duration has reduced from 55 weeks in 2011 to 30 weeks in 2014.

It is hoped the changes will further reduce the amount of time that children involved in cases will have to face uncertainty about their future.

Family justice minister, Simon Hughes, said: “We have put children at the heart of the family justice system, reducing delays that can have a harmful impact on them.

“The new national standards for expert witnesses will make sure that only top quality evidence is presented, as and when the judge deems it necessary. They will help us to make sure cases are resolved as quickly as possible and on the basis of rigorous advice.”

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