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Vol 21 No 11 Nov/Dec 2016

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The Forward March of Children's Justice Halted

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ISBN13: 9780955768156
Published: October 2008
Publisher: Triarchy Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Pamphlet
Price: £10.00



Usually despatched in 1 to 3 weeks.

This pamphlet is intended as an urgent call to arms. The Labour government is in the process of subverting the children's justice system through a deadly combination of legal aid cuts, court fee hikes, market dogmatism, and reductionist protocols.

What was an inspiration to all professionals involved in justice for children has been systematically dismantled. The Children Act 1989 came into force, with all party support, in 1991. This revolutionised childcare proceedings. Legal Aid was made available to parents, a highly experienced social worker or guardian developed a relationship with the child to ascertain their feelings and needs in order to present the child's interests to the court, and all parties, including the local authority, were equally represented.

Gone were the days when a child could be place into care without the anxieties of the parent and child being taken into account. There were some weaknesses in the system but it was an insightful starting point. Rather than build on the knowledge of those directly involved in public family law the government has steadily introduced reforms to subvert this system of justice:-

  • Graduated and fixed fees for already economically disadvantaged legal aid solicitors - the number of solicitors' firms undertaking legally aided family work has dropped by more than 40%...
  • Court fees charged to local authorities in public law children's cases were increased from £150 to more than £5,000 in May 2008
  • Residential assessments for parents and children are to be paid for by an already over-stretched and over-burdened local authority
  • Star ratings and key indicators that undermine the professionalism of all who work in this field
  • The Public Law Outline (PLO) has allowed the potential for a decision about the future care of a child to be made without the child being represented.

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Subjects:
Family Law