For Immediate Release – 6th February 2008
Not Fit for Purpose –
British Family Justice System fails those it claims to serve
- “Slow, expensive and lacking in continuity”: Families Need Fathers (FNF) reveals severe failings in the British Family Justice System
- Family lives being ruined every day
- FNF calls for dramatic overhaul of the closed family courts system
Research conducted by FNF has confirmed the shocking deficiency of the Family Justice System, whose business is conducted behind closed doors. Family lives are being ruined every day through delay, inconsistency and a system that fails its users. The survey asked respondents of their experiences with the courts: lengths of time involved, the standard of service they received from professionals throughout the process and the amount of judicial continuity experienced. Answers revealed a system which is failing those it exists to serve.
The survey revealed a distinct lack of judicial continuity, with respondents sitting before numerous different Judges throughout the lifetime of their case and often considering the service received from the professionals involved to be substandard. High expense and long delays compound the experience even further.
John Baker, FNF Chair said, “In a process which is by nature distressing and painful, long delays between applications to court and orders being made (up to 5 ½ years from survey results), there will inevitably be many undeserving victims, i.e. the children, whose entire lives will be disrupted whilst a new ‘status quo’ is established. This can have life-long destructive effects on these children.”
“The fact that proceedings of such magnitude can happen without being open to wider scrutiny is completely unacceptable,” he added.
A snapshot of findings from the report of FNF’s research study The Law, the Authorities and You! Experiences of the Family Justice System can be found at the end of this release. The full report is on the FNF website at http://www.fnf.org.uk/publications-resources/research. Alternatively contact the office on 0207 613 5060.
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Note for editors: Families Need Fathers (FNF) is a registered charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status. Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s relationship with both parents. Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.
For comment or information please contact:
Nick Barnard, Director of Communications 07979 206 384
John Baker, FNF Chair 07881 644 917
Jon Davies, FNF CEO 07976 935 986
Georgina Brereton, Policy & Information Officer 020 7613 5060
Please see Families Need Fathers ‘programme for change’ Father’s Day Manifesto at
1) Time from court application to 1st order being made: 35 answers
- The longest length of time given was 2 years
- The shortest length of time given was 1 month
- The average length of time given was 6 months 3 weeks
2) Time from court application to final order being made (for those who have reached that stage): 34 answers
- The longest length of time given was 5 ½ years
- The shortest length of time given was 4 months
- The average length of time given was 1 year 11 months
4) Respondents were asked to grade the standard of the Judges, CAFCASS officers, and lawyers involved throughout their proceedings
§ Experiences of Judges: 60 answers
Ø 30 (50%) respondents said negative
Ø 10 (17%) respondents said positive
Ø 20 (33%) respondents said average
§ Experiences of CAFCASS: 56 answers
Ø 36 (64%) respondents said negative
Ø 7 (13%) respondents said positive
Ø 13 (23%) respondents said average
§ Experiences of lawyers: 44 answers
Ø 29 (66%) respondents said negative
Ø 2 (5%) respondents said positive
Ø 13 (30%) respondents said average