Domestic Abuse

The Family Justice Council has decided that the work being undertaken by the Domestic Abuse working group on producing a best practice guidance will cease in light of the many dynamic changes impacting on the courts in this area and more generally, which have meant that the production and reception of new guidance is no longer feasible. The President would like to thank the working group for the considerable amount of work undertaken by them on the draft guidance, which has also informed the Council’s consultation responses, Judicial College training sessions and the information provided to litigants by HMCTS, resulted in guidance on safety from domestic abuse and special measures in remote and hybrid hearings, and raised awareness and promoted discussion of good practices through two rounds of consultation. Thanks are also due to those individuals and organisations who responded to the consultations, and whose responses have been immensely helpful to the working group and to the work of the Council more generally. The President would like to affirm the Council’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that domestic abuse is properly understood and responded to in family courts and welcomes that the working group will continue to contribute its multi-disciplinary expertise to respond to consultations and to keep the area of domestic abuse under continuing review.


To monitor the operation of the family justice system in relation to domestic abuse from an interdisciplinary perspective.  To respond to consultations and advise on areas for potential further work.


Rosemary Hunter (Chair)
Melanie Carew
Matthew Pinnell
Natasha Watson
Jaime Craig
Jenny Beck
DJ Judith Crisp
HHJ Karen Venables
Dorothea Gartland – Barrister
Angela Frazer-Wicks


Addressing issues arising in relation to domestic abuse in the family courts.

Terms of Reference:

  • To inform the FJC of developments relating to domestic abuse in the family justice system
  • To prepare responses to consultations relating to domestic abuse on behalf of the FJC
  • To produce guidance commissioned by the FJC to assist the judiciary, family justice professionals and court users to respond effectively to issues of domestic abuse in family courts
  • To promote and facilitate the implementation of such guidance
  • To update such guidance as necessary in response to new developments
  • To identify matters relating to domestic abuse where practices or processes could be improved and to consider and recommend how and by whom such matters might best be addressed.
  • To provide a source of expertise and experience on domestic abuse that can be drawn upon when others working in the family justice system seek input or advice from the FJC.
  • To undertake such further work on domestic abuse as is agreed by the FJC and does not cross over/duplicate work being undertaken elsewhere.

Outputs published by this working group:

Safety from Domestic Abuse and Special Measures in Remote and Hybrid Hearings – guidance published

Draft statutory guidance on the cross examination provisions of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 – Submission from the FJC (Word document)

Family Procedure Rule Committee consultation on proposed new practice direction 3B to provide guidance on the cross examination provisions in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (Word document)