In the wake of continuing criticism that the family courts are operating ‘in secret’ and there being a push for greater transparency, there is also a call for greater recognition of the rights of children.
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child set out, amongst other things, the following:-
Plainly put. Easy to understand, and yet not translating into the practice of the family court.
Far too often, decisions are made about the future of a child/children in a setting in which their parents are separating, and where the voice of the child is simply not heard.
There is still too little that is understood and/or promoted in ‘child-inclusive mediation’.
Far too often the family court will determine a case without any reference to the wishes and feelings of the child.
The report recognises that the Children Act 1989 was to be a charter for children yet, three decades on, their voices, rights, and interests are still marginalised in decision-making when parents separate.
The court system continues to be focused upon the needs, wishes, and feelings of the parent.
It remains to be seen whether these recommendations are followed through, and it is with some concern that, as a family law practitioner, I look back over the last 30 plus years since the enactment of the Children Act 1989 and still progress must be made to recognise a child’s fundamental right.Contact us
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