Children: Custody

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of Gloria De Piero Gloria De Piero Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to his oral contribution of 5 February 2019, when the President of the Family Division plans to report back on his review of the guidance provided under Practice Direction 12J.

Photo of Gloria De Piero Gloria De Piero Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to his oral contribution of 5 February 2019, what powers the Domestic Abuse Commissioner will have to investigate matters relating to Practice Direction 12J.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

In light of the important issues raised by the Sammy Woodhouse case, Lucy Frazer has asked the President of the Family Division of the High Court to look at Practice Direction 12C that provides guidance on the notification of parents without parental responsibility in family cases and he has committed to doing that. Officials at the Ministry of Justice continue to work with other relevant departments and stakeholders to consider how we can better protect vulnerable mothers and children in our family courts however, at present, there are currently no plans to ask the President to review the guidance provided under Practice Direction 12J, however it was this subject on which I agreed to meet the Honourable Member.

The role of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner introduced through the draft Domestic Abuse Bill is intended to provide public leadership on domestic abuse issues. They will raise awareness of the issue of domestic abuse and will monitor and oversee the provision of domestic abuse services across England and Wales, including the services available for children and young people. The specific statutory powers of the commissioner will continue to be developed and refined as the bill passes through pre-legislative scrutiny. I look forward to meeting the Honourable Member to discuss further how these powers might operate in practice, as promised in my response on 5th February.

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