Family Division launches public and private law consultation

Ministry of Justice consultation – Assessing risk of harm to children and parents in private law children cases. Submission Deadline 19/08/2019

Family Division launches public and private law consultation

Dear Member,

President of the Family Division launches public and private law consultation

In Autumn 2018 the President of the Family Division invited Mr Justice Keehan (public law) and Mr Justice Cobb (private law), to lead two cross-professional Working Groups, to look at practices and processes in these two areas. The Interim Reports of both these Working Groups are now available (please see below) and open for consultation.

The primary focus of the Private Law Working Group is to review and assess the effectiveness of the Children Arrangements Programme established in 2014. In considering whether any amendments are necessary to make the current system more effective, the Working Group will have regard to the following:

1) LiPs – how can the private law system be made more responsive to their needs?
2) Managing expectations of parents, especially LiPs – how can this be done when parties are unrepresented and have not had the benefit of legal advice?
3) Case volumes – are there cases reaching court which would be better dealt with elsewhere?
4) Pre-proceedings – is there scope to divert cases from court with more effective triage?
5) Mediation and MIAMs – is this process working? If not, how could it be improved?
6) Other forms of Non-Court Dispute resolution (NCDR) – what can be done to promote them?
7) Is the right information being provided to the Court? If not, how could this be improved?
8) Allocation and gatekeeping – is there merit in adopting a multi-track approach?
9) The voice of the child – when and how can engagement with children be made in the most effective way?
10) Time – how long should cases take? Could some cases be dealt with more quickly? If so, how could this be done?
11) FHDRAs – are these operating as intended? If not, what can be done to ensure that they provide a genuine opportunity to settle the case?
12) Safeguarding and risk assessment – is the right balance being struck in those cases where allegations of domestic abuse are made?
13) Delays in Finding of Fact Hearings – is this a widespread problem? If so, what can be done to address it?
14) Repeat applications – is the proportion of these a concern? If so, how can the proportion of cases which come back to court be reduced?
15) Enforcement – what can be done to improve compliance with court orders?
16) Benefit to children – all proposals should be measured against whether they contribute to delivering enhanced benefits and outcomes for children.
The public law consultation can be responded to direct through the survey online found at

If you would like to provide feedback of your own experience in relation to the private law please send your comments to Shanika Varga of Stowe Family Law LLP on: who is formulating a response on behalf of the Leeds Law Society.
Please reply to Shanika no later than 20th September 2019.


Ministry of Justice consultation – Assessing risk of harm to children and parents in private law children cases.


Dear member


You may have seen that the Ministry of Justice announced a public call to gather evidence on how the family courts protect children and parents in private law children cases concerning domestic abuse and other serious offences.


In particular the Ministry of Justice wants evidence from family law practitioners about:-


  • How Practice Direction 12J is being applied in practice, and its outcomes and impact for children and parents, including its interaction with the presumption of parental involvement in s.1(2A) of the Children Act 1989;
  • How FPR Part 3A and Practice Direction 3AA are being applied in practice, and their outcomes and impact in cases involving domestic abuse or other serious offences against parties and/or children;
  • How s.91(14) of the Children Act 1989 is being applied in practice, and its outcomes and impact in cases involving domestic abuse;
  • In each case, the challenges of implementing these provisions and the nature and causes of any inconsistency and inadequacy in their operation;
  • The risk of harm to children and non-abusive parents in continuing to have a relationship and contact with a parent who has been domestically abusive (including coercive and controlling behaviour) or who has committed other serious offences against the other parent or a child such as child abuse, rape, sexual assault or murder.

If you would like to provide feedback of your own experience please send your comments to Shanika Varga of Stowe Family Law LLP on who is formulating a response on behalf of the Leeds Law Society. Please reply to Shanika no later than 19th August.


Past Consultations:


On 27 September the SRA published two consultations as part of its ‘Looking to the Future’ work:

The deadline for responses to both consultations is 20 December 2017.

The consultations propose far-reaching changes to the way solicitors and firms currently practise. We are concerned about the impact of the proposals on both the profession and clients and as the representative body for the solicitors’ profession, we will be submitting a full and evidence-based response to both consultations. We will share our response with members ahead of the consultation deadline. In the meantime, please see an overview of the proposals.

Consultations for Government that you may be interested in responding to… Find out more

Law Commission Sentencing Code

The Law Commission is consulting on the introduction of a single sentencing statute that will act as the comprehensive source of sentencing law– the “Sentencing Code”.  Submission deadline 26 January 2018

Responses recently submitted by Leeds Law Society:

SQE Consultation (part 3) Leeds Law Society Response – 20.07.2017

Consultations now closed: 

Recovering the costs of the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS): fees proposals – Financial Conduct Authority Submission deadline 8/1/18

Law Commission Sentencing Code Submission deadline 26/1/18

SRA: Looking to the Future: Better information, more choice Submission deadline 20/12

SRA – Looking to the future: phase two of our Handbook reforms  Submission deadline 20/12

Consultation on new legislation on offensive and dangerous weapons – Home Office

Financial Conduct Authority Guidance Consultation

Law Commission Reform on Wills Law

Regulatory performance assessment closes 25/9

SRA Corporate Strategy 2017-20

Consultation on sentencing guidelines – child cruelty  closes 13/9

Enforcement of suspended orders – alignment of procedures in the County Court and High Court  closed 30/8

Consultation on The Model Order for Directions to be used in all Credit Hire cases: This is a consultation exercise by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee. Opens Wednesday 28 June 2017 – Tuesday 1 August 2017

A new route to qualification: New regulations. The SRA consulting on proposed regulations to provide the regulatory framework for qualification as a solicitor via the Solicitors Qualifying Examination, and on their proposals for recognition of the knowledge and competences of qualified lawyers which will form part of the new regulatory framework. These will come into effect no earlier than September 2020. Consultation opens 31 May 2017, closes 26 July 2017

2017-18 Practising fee consultation with solicitors: Managing the costs of regulatory, public interest and representative work. This consultation from The Law Society opens on 23 June 2017 and closes on 2 July 2017

Consultation responses submitted by Leeds Law Society:

Response to a consultation undertaken on behalf of the North and West Yorkshire Judicial Business Group and HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Successful result: As a result of this consultation response the Leeds Youth Court will remain open and our members will continue to service the Court and provide a high quality representation.

This document is the post-consultation report for the consultation paper on the listing of youth cases in West Yorkshire Magistrates Courts.

This response was published on 26.6.17 READ: Youth Court Consultation Response (Leeds Law Society) April 2017


  • FRC in Low Value Clinical Negligence Claims Consultation:

  • For the Access to Justice Report, please CLICK HERE.
  • For the CET response to Whiplash Consultation, please CLICK HERE.
  • For the consultation response to Reforming the Soft Tissue Injury (Whiplash) Claims Process Consultation. Please CLICK HERE.

Leeds Law Society are very grateful to Richard Coulthard of Michael Lewin Solicitors for his hard work on producing this document.

Special mention also goes to the solicitors and members of the bar in Leeds who attended our workshop and who provided input.

This is a great example of Leeds practitioners working together to respond to an important consultation on an issue that will have a significant impact on some of our members’ livelihoods.

We are currently preparing submissions:

  • to the SRA consultation on changes to how solicitors train and qualify
  • to send to Lord Justice Jackson in relation to the proposal to extend fixed recoverable costs. We published a survey which can be found HERE and is open until 16.01.17. A template is also available if you want to contact Lord Justice Jackson direct. Please contact me at for a copy.

Thank you to everyone who has helped with these consultations.

A new route to qualification: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination

Training for Tomorrow, of which this consultation is a part, is reviewing the education and training of solicitors in England and Wales to better assure their competence.

As part of Training for Tomorrow, we have already published a Statement of Solicitor Competence, which sets out what solicitors need to be able to do to perform their role effectively and which provides consumers of legal services with a clear indication of what they can expect from their solicitor. We have also introduced a new approach to ensuring that the skills and knowledge of qualified solicitors remain up to date. This is our second consultation on how to assure consistent and comparable high quality standards at the point of admission.

Response Details


9 January 2017


  • Please CLICK HERE for the Online Survey
  • Please CLICK HERE for the Consultation Paper
  • Please CLICK HERE to read Leeds Law Society’s response to ‘A NEW ROUTE TO QUALIFICATION: THE SQE’