Family Justice Review

Justice written question – answered on 28th March 2011.

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Photo of David Morris David Morris Conservative, Morecambe and Lunesdale

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department's Family Justice Review will address disparities in the way courts deal with residency and access requests for mothers and fathers; and when he expects the Review to report.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Where both parents have parental responsibility for their child they are equal before the law. There is no presumption by the court that one parent is a better parent than the other and the court is required to approach these sensitive and difficult matters in an impartial and unbiased manner. In making decisions about contact and other arrangements for children, all judges and holders of judicial office must ensure that their work is free from improper discrimination on any grounds, including gender. Rather, the Children Act 1989 requires that the best interests of the child must be paramount in any decision taken that will affect them.

However, in order to ensure that children are able to have a meaningful relationship with both their parents following separation I have asked the Family Justice Review to examine how the positive involvement of both parents following separation should be supported. In particular, I have asked the panel to consider how contact with non-resident parents can be promoted where this is in the best interests of the child. The Family Justice Review will issue an interim report with recommendations for reform at the end of March and publish its final report in autumn this year.

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Annotations

David Masters
Posted on 29 Mar 2011 12:26 pm (Report this annotation)

What was the basis for the question? Does David Morris have evidence to suggest that there is disparity, or is he asking the question based on personal experience? It would be nice if MPs had to clarify how many constituents had come to them about a particular issue, so we knew they were not just on a 'hobby horse.'