Speech by Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division
27 February 2015
Much has happened since the last occasion when you were kind enough to ask me to speak at this splendid event. You hardly need reminding that April last year saw the implementation of family justice reforms which are already so deeply embedded that we take them almost for granted. Care cases have been transformed – and their average length continues to fall. We are making great progress in the equally necessary transformation of private law cases. We have new family courts in West and East London, created from scratch in remarkably short time under the inspirational leadership of Judy Rowe and Carol Atkinson. The Central Family Court has been, at least in parts, refurbished, and continues to improve under John Altman’s determined leadership. Elsewhere, dedicated judges under the devoted leadership of our Designated Family Judges, make the most of what is possible in often inadequate and dilapidated buildings.
There remains, inevitably, much to do, but family court users are already experiencing the benefits of what we have been doing. It is a great achievement but – and this is the key point – an achievement in which we have ALL played a part and in which we can ALL take pride. I would have been able to accomplish nothing without the support and commitment of the family bar, of family solicitors, of family judges and of everyone else who has a role to play in the family justice system. Thank you! Thank you!