The Family Court Committee (FCC) enables the MA, and those with whom it works, to assemble and disseminate messages and research, and to support our members who sit in the Family Court. The Committee also includes the magistrate representatives on the Family Justice Council and the Family Procedure Rules Committee, as well as subject matter experts across all strands of family justice relevant to the magistracy.
HMCTS, MoJ and the Justices’ Clerks’ Society (JCS) attend its meetings and are available for advice as needed. It is represented on the relevant Judicial College committees and has membership of the National Judicial Advisory Group.
Achievements of the Family Court Committee
- The FCC was responsible for creating the best practice document, subsequently issued by the President of the Family Division, with the endorsement of the Senior Presiding Judge, MoJ, HMCTS, JCS and Chief Magistrate, covering the organisation and training of magistrates and ensuring their direct involvement in the management of the allocation process.
- The FCC received funding from the Judicial College and HMCTS to organise and run a day conference, addressed by the President, which brought together all the family panel chairmen in England and Wales to share experiences of the first year’s operation of the Family Court and make recommendations for improvements. Attendees included leaders from various parts of the Family Justice System.
- The FCC has been invited, because of its record of contributions to the family justice system, to provide a member of the newly formed Judicial Engagement Group, formed under the auspices of the HMCTS Reform Programme to ensure input from all tiers of the judicial in the family jurisdiction.
- The FCC has undertaken and published research on the impact of litigants in person on the family court process and timetable, resulting in them being invited to give evidence to two parliamentary select committees.
- Under the umbrella of the APPG on the Magistracy the FCC brought together the relevant government minister, Simon Hughes, the leading private-law High Court Judge, Sir Stephen Cobb, and the leading charity, the Personal Support Unit, to discuss the impact of litigants in person. Such was the quality of the meeting that the minister stayed for 75 minutes rather than the 15 that was scheduled.