New family court set up in London

Amanda Crowe Cropped

A new family court named the ‘Family Solutions Court’ has been set up in an effort to bring alternative dispute resolution into the court system, with parties being supported by a number of agencies. The new court has enlisted the Citizens Advice Bureau to provide advice and signpost people to other services. A contact centre has also been set up as part of the new court in order to enable a judge to direct a defined period of contact in child related cases. The court also includes a ‘pro bono’ scheme, mediation and Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings facilities, a personal support unit and a programme focusing on the needs of children whose parents have separated.

The Family Solutions Court is based at the Central Family Court in Holborn, London, with all of the court’s components being located on the same floor, allowing parties to have easy access to all these different services.

The court has also been given case management and timetabling powers to enable judges to bring matters to a conclusion with less delay than other informal means of dispute resolution. His Honour Judge Altman, the architect behind this new court said that, “By this time next year I would hope that we have reduced the number of contested hearings necessary in many private law applications to the court, and to create a structure for those families who need help in managing their disputes around the living arrangements for their children … in the end, a trial may be the only solution in a case, but we consider that the responsibility of the family court in the present day is to draw into its processes all the agencies that can lead to the best solution.

Time will tell if Judge Altman’s target can be achieved.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in our family team.

Solicitors Ipswich Suffolk – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email