Earlier this year the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew Macfarlane, set up working groups to look at practices and processes in public and private law.
Earlier this year the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew Macfarlane, set up working groups to look at practices and processes in public and private law, to try and identify areas for improvement in how cases are managed and responded to during, and before, the court process. Cafcass Cymru is a member of both working groups. In early July 2019 the President published the interim reports of each group setting out proposals for reform.
We, along with Cafcass in England, welcome the initiative taken by the judiciary to undertake these reviews and recognise that the family courts have experienced unsustainable rises in the numbers of cases coming before them. The working groups are right to point to the need for strengthened pre-court arrangements to ensure that courts only make decisions about children’s lives where it is absolutely necessary. We support the need to take action to improve consistency, streamline approaches, and strengthen case management to improve decisions and experiences for the families that do need to be in proceedings. We have collaborated with colleagues in Cafcass England to produce a joint statement on issues common to private and public law. Cafcass Cymru has also produced individual responses to the public law and private law interim reports which can be found here.
The public and private law groups have now reconvened to consider the responses to the consultation and Cafcass Cymru continues to be an active member of the two groups.