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Giving Children a Voice in Family Courts

The Government has committed to giving children a greater voice in the family justice system.

It says that children and young people aged ten and over, who are involved in all family court hearings in England and Wales, will be given access to judges to make their views and feelings known.

The announcement was made following calls from young people’s representative group, the Family Justice Young People’s Board, which say that for too long children have been pushed and pulled through the family justice system with little or no say on what happens to them.

“Children and young people must by law have their views heard before decisions are made about their future, and where decisions are made that will impact them,” said Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes. “At the moment, it is still too often that their views are not heard.”

“Our commitment to giving children the chance to speak to a judge and make clear their views means children will not only be seen in family courts but they will have their own voice heard,” he added. “This will put them firmly at the heart of the Family Justice System.”

The Government also intends to work with the mediator sector so that children have appropriate access to mediators in cases which affect them.

It says that the changes affecting public and private law cases will be implemented as soon as is practically possible.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

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