Children’s voices to be heard in court, minister pledges
The government has made a commitment that from the age of ten, children and young people involved in family court hearings in England and Wales will have access to judges to make their views and feelings known.
The announcement was made following concern from the Family Justice Young People’s Board that children involved in the family justice system have little or no say on what happens to them.
Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said on 25 July: “Children and young people must by law have their views heard before decisions are made about their future, and where decisions are made that will impact them. At the moment, it is still too often that their views are not heard.
“Our commitment to giving children the chance to speak to a judge and make clear their views means children will not only be seen in family courts but they will have their own voice heard. This will put them firmly at the heart of the family justice system.
“The government will also work with mediator sector so that children have appropriate access to mediators in cases which affect them.”
The government said the changes would be implemented as soon as was practically possible.
Relationship breakdowns are understandably difficult and distressing for couplesm especially where there are children involved. In those situations, the best interests of the children and their welfare must always be the most important consideration.
Seeking advice from experienced family lawyers can be a constructive step towards achieving an agreement between parents that would provide the basis for ongoing co-operation, support in the long term and stability for their children.
The involvement of lawyers who are committed to assisting agreements in an amicable way can help to reduce the time, stress and expense associated of going through the family justice system.