The MA held a well-attended and successful conference for family panel chairmen
The MA’s Family Panel Chairmen’s Conference was a success on 3 March, held at the Victory Services Club near Marble Arch in London. The event attracted well over 100 attendees with the vast majority of family panels represented. HHJ Jeremy Richards from Norfolk opened the conference with a dynamic and supportive speech on the role of magistrates in the system. This was followed by John Baker, Justice’s Clerk, speaking on allocation of cases in the family court followed by a lively discussion with questions from delegates. The Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) gave a powerful presentation on the importance of the voice of the child in family court proceedings. The FJYPB delegates then ran an interactive session based on the game ‘snakes and ladders’ which gave an insight into the experiences of a young person going through care proceedings. Snakes and ladders was followed by an informative speaker from CAFCASS taking about a pilot model for children and young people meeting judges and magistrates as part of family court proceedings. Helen Pustam from the Judicial College, Stephan Hays JP, Chairman of the MA’s Family Court Committee and DJ Emma Arbuthnot, Deputy Chief Magistrate, all sat on a discussion panel and took questions from the floor. The conference closed with a powerful keynote address by the Rt. Hon Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, on the progress of the single family court. The MA would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the Judicial College for sponsoring the event and for HMCTS for paying for attendees expenses.