Latest news

5 June 2023

The Family Justice Council will hold its ninth Open Meeting on 10 July 2023 from 11.00am until 1.30pm.  The meeting will be held remotely via MS Teams.

This will provide an opportunity for members of the public to see first-hand the Council at work. Guests will be able to observe the meeting, which will conclude with a question-and-answer session when they will be able to put pre-submitted questions to the Council.

Any questions for the Council will need to be submitted by Monday 19 June 2023, as this will allow time for any questions to be submitted to members for answer. Please note that we may not be able to answer all questions submitted.

Closing date for applications to attend remotely is Thursday 6 July 2023

To register to attend the meeting and to submit a question for the Council, please use this link. Once registered, a link to the meeting will be sent to guests in due course.

22 May 2023

The EFJS London sub-committee are organising a one day event on “How to get started” as an expert witness.

It will be held in London at the RCJ on Friday 23 June at 9am, all welcome. You can register for the one day event on getting started as an expert witness on Eventbrite (external).

8 March 2023

The Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture was given by Dr Sheena Webb, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, on Wednesday 8 March 2023. The lecture was entitled ‘Hidden in plain sight: trauma and the Family Court’. The online event was hosted as part of the Family Justice Council’s annual interdisciplinary conference, this year’s topic was ‘Trauma in the Family Justice System’.

Please see the link to the recording of the lecture below, and view the lecture references document.

Watch the recording and view the lecture references document.

10 February 2023

The Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture will take place online on Wednesday 8 March 2023, 10.00 to 11.00am. The Lecture will be given by Dr Sheena Webb, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and it is titled ‘Hidden in plain sight: trauma and the Family Court’.

For more information and how to register for this event please see this page.

21 December 2022

The Family Justice Council held its 15th Annual Debate on Tuesday 6 December 2022, ‘Should remote hearings continue to play a significant role in family cases?’.

The recording of the 15th Annual Debate is now available to view on the website.

3 November 2022

The Family Justice Council will be holding its 15th Annual Debate on Tuesday 6 December 2022, ‘Should remote hearings continue to play a significant role in family cases?

The event will be held in London and lived streamed via Microsoft Teams. For more information and how to register your interest please see the advert.

2 November 2022

The Family Justice Council held an event on the 12 October 2022: Experts Committee Symposium: The Long and Winding Road on 12 October 2022 at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

26 May 2022

The Family Justice Council will hold its Eighth Open Meeting on 4 July 2022.

24 May 2022

Interim Guidance in relation to expert witnesses in cases where there are allegations of alienating behaviours – conflicts of interest

This interim guidance is focused on the limited issue of conflicts of interest relating to expert assessment in cases involving allegations of alienating behaviours. The Council’s full guidance note on responding to allegations of alienating behaviours, including the timing, scope and type of expert witness evidence will be issued in 2023.

19 May 2022

Family Justice Council Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture and the annual Conference

Watch the live stream Lecture and clips from the conference speakers

10 May 2022

Guidance on assessing child’s competence to instruct a solicitor (PDF, opens in a new tab).

The aim of this guidance is to provide some consistency of approach while recognising that each child is unique and each case fact specific.

6 April 2022

Family Justice Council Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture (online): Is it Time for Climate Change in the Family Justice System? (PDF, opens in a new tab)

18 March 2022

Committee on Experts in the Family Justice System Newsletter: Spring 2022 (PDF, opens in a new tab)

Mr Justice Williams introduces the newsletter, which will provide news on the activities of the FJC Committee.

16 December 2021

Family Justice Council – 14th Annual Debate – ‘Should the age of majority be reduced to 16?’ Live streamed video recording | Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Watch the full live stream and clips from the Family Justice Council 14th Annual Debate.

15 December 2021

Committee on Experts in the Family Justice System Newsletter: Autumn 2021 (PDF, opens in a new tab)

Mr Justice Williams introduces the newsletter, which will provide news on the activities of the FJC Committee.

1 December 2021

Experts Sub-Committee event and video

Due to the over-subscription of the previous webinar in March 2021, the Experts Sub-Committee of the Family Justice Council held a re-run of the previous event and invited anyone who missed out on the one held in May to attend.

9 November 2021

Family Justice Council 14th Annual Debate – ‘Should the age of majority be reduced to 16?”

The debate and panel discussion is on Wednesday 8 December 2021, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.  The event will take place in person in London and will be live streamed via MS Teams.

10 August 2021

Family Justice Council webinar – Experts and the Family Justice System: Widening the Pool

Due to the over-subscription of the previous webinar in March 2021, the Experts Sub-Committee of the Family Justice Council invites anyone who missed out on that event to register their interest in this webinar Experts and the Family Justice System: Widening the Pool.

It is particularly aimed at health professionals who are either new to expert reporting or wish to become experts, and to legal professionals who are up to 10 years PQE.

7 May 2021

Experts and the Family Justice System: Widening the Pool

The Experts Sub-Committee held its inaugural event on 25 March 2021

30 April 2021

Adoption in the 21st Century and the Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture – March 2021

9 February 2021

The Family Justice Council is pleased to endorse Advicenow’s Survival guide to pensions on divorce (external link, opens in a new tab).

This guide is specifically designed to help people going through divorce or dissolution.

Including pensions in the division of a couple’s assets on divorce, or the dissolution of a civil partnership, is vitally important in ensuring a fair outcome for both parties. This matters, regardless of whether they are already retired, contemplating retirement, or view retirement as a distant prospect.

The Family Justice Council is pleased to endorse Advicenow’s Survival guide to pensions on divorce (external link, opens in a new tab). This guide is specifically designed to help people going through divorce or dissolution. It makes a potentially daunting topic understandable and manageable, by explaining why and how pensions should be included in financial settlements and providing a wealth of accessible guidance on the practical aspects of doing so. The guide will be invaluable for people tackling divorce or dissolution without a lawyer, as well as for all those seeking a better grasp of this often neglected or avoided issue.

The survival guide is the accessible version of the definitive Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce (external link, opens in a new tab) produced in 2019 by the Pensions Advisory Group, an interdisciplinary working group supported by the Family Justice Council and the President of the Family Division.

14 December 2020

Exploring the report and recommendations of the expert panel on: Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases (opens in a new tab)

The Family Justice Council held a virtual discussion forum on Monday, 14 December 2020, looking at the report (external link, opens in a new tab) and recommendations of the expert panel on Assessing the Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases.

10 November 2020

Safety from Domestic Abuse and Special Measures in Remote and Hybrid Hearings – guidance published (opens in a new tab)

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has published the Safety from Domestic Abuse and Special Measures in Remote and Hybrid Hearings guidance.

 5 November 2020

The President of the Family Division Working Group on Medical Experts in the Family Courts – Final Report (PDF, opens in a new tab)

The final report of the Working Group on Medical Experts in the Family Courts was published on Thursday 5 November 2020.

28 October 2020

We are pleased to announce the following appointment to the Council: Bernadette MacQueen as the new Legal Adviser member and Fiona Straw as the new Paediatrician member

The appointment is for three years from September 2020 and October 2020 respectively.  Both posts are unremunerated.  The appointments process for each post was conducted in line with the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointment.

28 July 2020

The Family Justice Council will hold its seventh Open Meeting on 19 October 2020

July 7 2020
Family Justice Council: applications invited from Paediatricians- closing date extended to noon on 24 August Now closed

July 7 2020

Appointment of new member to the Family Justice Council

We are pleased to announce the following appointment to the Council: Mavis Amonoo- Acquah as the new Barrister member.
The appointment is for three years from July 2020.  The post is unremunerated.  The appointments process for each post was conducted in line with the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments.

15 June 2020
Message from the President of the Family Division (opens in a new tab)

25 March 2020
Coronavirus Crisis – Guidance for parents whose children are the subject of Child Arrangement Orders made by the Family Court (opens in a new tab)

2 January 2020
Appointment of new member to the Family Justice Council
We are pleased to announce the following appointment to the Council: Jenny Beck as the new Private Law Solicitor member
The appointment is for three years from January 2020.  The post is unremunerated.  The appointments process for each post was conducted in line with the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments.

20 December 2019
Family Justice Council – 13th Annual Debate (opens in a new tab)
The Family Justice Council held its 13th Annual Debate and panel discussion in London on Wednesday, 4 December 2019, from 5-7pm. The motion was
Do separating parents need the Family Court?
NB: A podcast of the debate (external link, opens in a new tab) is available to listen to. A transcript of the debate (PDF, opens in a new tab) is available to read.

1 July 2019
Guidance on the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce – a guide for professionals
The Family Justice Council is pleased to announce the publication of A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce (PDF, opens in a new tab).Produced by the multidisciplinary Pensions Advisory Group, with the support of the Council, the report provides a clear good practice guide for family judges, lawyers and pension experts.  It hopes to improve communication amongst the professionals and help address the shortfall in understanding about how they should deal with the valuation, sharing or offsetting of pension fund assets in divorce settlements. Further information (external link, opens in a new tab) can be found online.

24 May 2019
Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship (PDF, opens in a new tab)

1. This interim guidance is issued by the Family Justice Council with the approval of the Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, in response to some of the issues identified in Re P-S (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1407. Its primary purpose is to address cases where an extension to the statutory 26-week time limit is sought in order to assess potential special guardians, more fully, within public law proceedings.
2. In producing this guidance, the Council has worked closely with the President’s Public Law Working Group, chaired by Mr Justice Keehan and with the researchers commissioned by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, and led by CoramBAAF in partnership with Lancaster University, to review the research evidence on special guardianship. More comprehensive guidance on public law is expected later in the year but the Council felt there was a need to provide some interim guidance on special guardianship to assist practitioners, now, and to help start the process of change.

24 May 2019
Timetabling and timescales for full Family and Friends Assessments (PDF, opens in a new tab)
It has become evident that Directions are being made for completion of full Family and Friends Assessments in unachievably short timescales, sometimes between 6–8 weeks, in the mistaken belief that compliance with the 26 week timescale is the determinative priority in the management of a case.

22 March 2019
FJC Conference and Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture 2019 – Thresholds for state intervention (opens in a new tab)
The Family Justice Council conference and Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture took place on 12th March 2019

Older news stories are available on the Archive – news webpage.

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