Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Feedback could help family court Judges
Family law Judges would benefit from greater feedback on their work, new research suggests.
Bristol University’s Professor Judith Masson was tasked by the Family Justice Council with examining the role of the men and women who preside over the cases.
Prof Masson’s study made reference to the fact that many of those who work in the family division work alone and are denied the opportunity to see other Judges handling cases. This means that they receive comparatively little feedback.
The study suggested it would be helpful for other Judges and court users to sit in on cases and provide observations.
This system is already used in a number of jurisdictions and Prof Masson believes it would give members of the judiciary a steer as to whether their decisions were clear and if cases had been dealt with fairly.
“Feedback should be an integral part of Judges’ training and professional development,” said the report.
“Resources should not be expended on providing knowledge about what had happened in individual cases but on helping Judges to fill in the gaps in their frame of reference for decision-making and enhancing their skills in the courtroom.”
The findings have been welcomed by Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, and many of the 28 Judges who were interviewed as part of the study seemed receptive to the idea.
A number indicated that receiving feedback may help them in their work, although they acknowledged that some responses could also undermine their confidence in the job they did.
A number of Judges said they were interested to know what happened to parties once proceedings had concluded, but made it quite clear that the outcome of individual cases must not impact on their future decisions.
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