Should there be scope for a reformed level of representation in relation to the ‘tandem’ model?

The Law Society have recently published an article following the latest view from the head of the Family Division Sir James Munby. The Ministry of Justice, with his support, is investigating whether there is scope for a reformed level of representation in relation to the ‘tandem’ model, which requires that a child in every care case is represented by a children’s guardian and a solicitor.

CAFCASS who are the government organisation and the voice of children in family courts, and who help to ensure that the child’s welfare is put first during proceedings have disclosed figures that illustrate worrying statistics, there were 12,781 new care cases – up from 11,159 in the previous year.

Justice Munby said the reasons for the increase are ‘little understood’ and being investigated. However, the government and judiciary have to plan on the basis that there will continue to be significant increases in care proceedings.

Only the tandem model can ensure that the child’s interests, wishes and feelings are correctly identified and properly represented, Munby said. ‘This does not mean, however, that the practical operation of the tandem model should be immune from scrutiny,’ he added.

The Ministry of Justice will be conducting a data-collection exercise in 12 courts, Lancashire is not included. A second phase, involving the judiciary, will investigate how a reformed model of representation could work in practice.

Gill Carr

About Gill Carr

Gill Carr is an Associate Solicitor within the Family department at Forbes Solicitors. Gill’s blogs cover his specialisms of child protection, acting for both parents and children together with family members. Gill also advises and comments upon forced marriage, divorce, separation, child arrangements and financial matters. Gill writes about current legislation and case law relating to family law.
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