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Written - Family Justice Review

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Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services

In January, I made a statement announcing plans for a review of the Family Justice System to be undertaken by an independent Panel supported by senior representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Department for Education.

David Norgrove, chair of the Panel, has now been asked to build on his preliminary work in this area and undertake a comprehensive review of both public and private law cases.  

In public law this means looking at how the courts, with other agencies, manage cases involving children and the public care system.  In private law this means looking at contact and residence disputes between family members and will include considering how to increase the use of mediation when couples break up, and how best to provide greater access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents.

The Review will also examine the processes involved in granting divorces and awarding ancillary relief, but will not extend to the law as it relates to the grounds for divorce or the amounts of ancillary relief that should be awarded.

The Panel is today launching their call for evidence and wishes to hear from children, families, professionals and representative groups involved in the family justice system.