Terms of reference

1. The Family Justice Council will operate independently of the Family Justice Board but will, as a critical friend to the Family Justice Board; provide it with expert advice, from an inter-disciplinary perspective, on the operation and reform of the family justice system in England and Wales.

2. Its objectives are, in alignment with the priorities established by the Family Justice Board, to:

i) provide independent expert advice, from an inter-disciplinary perspective, to the judiciary, the Family Justice Board and Government on key family justice system issues referred to it either by the judiciary or by the Family Justice Board;

ii) highlight key cross-system issues for the Family Justice Board to consider;

iii) fulfil a ‘critical friend’ role in advising how the Family Justice Board can deliver its priorities and implement its action plan for system-wide improvement;

iv) support the Family Justice Board in devising and disseminating best practice guidance;

v) keep informed of current research and advise the Board and Government on research to be commissioned;

vi) work with the Family Justice Board and Government researchers to inform judges, lawyers, social workers and other professionals of the findings of the latest socio-legal and medico-legal research;

vii) make recommendations to the President of the Family Division on the need for new, or revised, Practice Directions and guidance for use in family proceedings; and

viii) advise the Family Justice Board on appropriate training and guidance for use by professionals and Local Family Justice Boards.