Top Judge calls for review of Family Law
High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge has issued a call for an Independent Commission into the state of Family Law in the UK.
Addressing the audience at an event yesterday evening entitled ‘Does Family Law Shape Society or Vice Versa?’, Mr Justice Coleridge spoke passionately about family law, the role which it plays in maintaining family life, and whether the current law is fit for purpose.
Family law matters, he argued, because it ‘deals with the regulation of substantially the whole field of people’s private lives, (regulating) their relationships and the relationships they have with their children.
The way in which family law is managed has a direct and profound impact on the private lives of huge numbers of the population...particularly due to the terribly high incidence of family breakdown’.
Mr Justice Coleridge continued, ‘The fact that family law has not been subject to high level inquiry since the Royal Commissions in 1950 and subsequent legislation in 1971 is both incredible and concerning...the world we inhabit today is not the same world as we inhabited in1950’. Indeed, as Mr Justice Coleridge noted, ‘when the last major reform was introduced there was no such thing as cohabitation outside marriage’.
Increasingly uneasy about the process of ‘reform by default’, Mr Justice Coleridge called for ‘a fresh look by an independent commission...(which must be)...completely non-political, independent and authoritative’, and emphasised this call by concluding that ‘family law does shape society but the law is in need of comprehensive, root and branch overhaul’.
Nola Leach, Chief Executive of Christian organisation CARE, echoed Mr Justice Coleridge’s words, ‘The call for an Independent Commission which is free from party politics is one which CARE wholeheartedly endorses. Family law impacts the lives of significant numbers of the UK population and is an area which merits serious reflection and action by the Government.’
Yesterday's event was the first in a series entitled 'Westminster Conversation' and was organised by CARE. The full text of Mr. Justice Coleridge's address can be accessed at CARE's website.