Tuesday, April 13, 2010

David Cameron Backs Fathers 4 Justice & Family Law Reform






08/04/2010 - Joint Statement with Fathers 4 Justice


Fathers 4 Justice confirmed today that David Cameron and the Conservative Party will make manifesto commitments to reform family law for the first time since the Children Act of 1989, over 20 years ago.

The news comes after eight-years of campaigning by the protest group.

The announcement was confirmed at a meeting today between Shadow Minister for Justice & Legal Affairs, Henry Bellingham and F4J Founder Matt O’Connor, Campaign Manager Nadine O’Connor and Research Co-ordinator Nick Langford. Fathers 4 Justice have said they look forward to working with the Conservative Party in making family law reform a reality for all families and their children.

Mr Bellingham said: “We have already done a huge amount of research into family law and have reached preliminary conclusions which will form the starting point for major reform. I particularly welcome the attitude of Fathers 4 Justice who approached the matter using dialogue and constructive engagement.”

He outlined the following principles which the party would follow and they include:

1) A clear definition of contact so couples know what the likely outcome of the case may be, making them less likely to litigate.

2) A legal presumption in favour of automatic shared-contact in the context of joint parental responsibility.

3) An emphasis on early interventions and mediation.

4) Enforceable contact orders including the withdrawal of benefits from parents withholding access.

5) Grandparents to have automatic rights of access to court.

6) A plan to work with the Department of Children, Schools and Families to ensure Cafcass becomes more efficient and is able to devote more time to public law cases and child protection issues.

7) A pro-active Judiciary with a more efficient handling of cases.

8) A wide consultation with all interested groups with an interim report published by the Autumn of 2010.

9) A commitment to reducing the cost to UK PLC caused by family breakdown and the litigation of family disputes which we believe is intolerable.

10) The most significant consequence of which will be to allow children to reach their true aspirations and potential.

Prospective Conservative Candidate for Romsey & Southampton North, Caroline Nokes welcomed the news saying, “Families really are the bedrock of our community and whilst they come in all different shapes and sizes they all need supporting. Matt and Nadine have worked tirelessly to put family law on everyone's radar and I welcome today's announcement and look forward to the ten points being implemented after the election.”

Said F4J Campaign Manager, Nadine O’Connor, “This is the game-changing announcement we have been working towards for the last eight years both in front of and behind the scenes. We look forward to working with the Conservative Party on ensuring this commitment becomes a reality for the thousands of children and families whose lives are blighted by the family courts.”

Issuing a note of caution she stated, “We will however remain ever vigilant to ensure that the Conservative Party act with the fierce urgency of now in making this happen if they are elected.”
“Thousands of parents and supporters of Fathers 4 Justice will now be backing David Cameron and his vision for family law reform and the big society.”


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