Lord Chief Justice takes stock in pre-retirement report

family law

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas has published his final annual report a few weeks before he is due to retire.

The report cites a sharp rise in demand for ‘public law’ – i.e. cases concerning the relationship between individuals and the state: typically (but not exclusively) fostering and adoption. There has also been a fall in care cases sparked by fears of radicalisation he adds.

The legal veteran also notes upcoming changes to family law, such as the removal of the current right held by those accused of domestic violence to cross-examine their accusers in court. In addition, the government has committed to introducing new protections for vulnerable witnesses in family court, to match those applied in criminal hearings.

His final year in office had been the most difficult he wrote, describing Brexit as “one of the most complex and difficult issues our country has faced in peacetime”.

The report also offers thoughts on the protection of access to justice and the importance of maintaining the independence of the judiciary.

The 69 year-old has been Lord Chief Justice since 2013 and will be succeeded by Sir Ian Burnett. Lord Thomas previously served as President of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.

You can read his final report here.

Photo by Ben Sutherland via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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1 comment

Paul - September 11, 2017 at 12:35pm

Not been aloud to cross examine your accuser is going to lead to massive injustice against fathers. If people are denniedvthe right to cross examine they should automatically qualify for legal aid or a paid representative.
Accusations are now officially CRIMES.
This was a big part of my case. I was not aloud to cross examine.
If the accuser is not aloud to be cross examined then the accused should be able to refuse to be cross examined.
This femanist agenda is a disgrace.

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