Public family law cases in the context of miscarriages of justice

Devine, L. and Parker, S. (2015) Public family law cases in the context of miscarriages of justice. Argument & Critique. Available from:

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Public family law decisions in English courts are ostensibly made to serve the best interests of the child, whose interests are given paramountcy under the Children Act 1989. Hence, there is little recognition of the capacity for decisions to constitute miscarriages of justice. This issue is of concern as research suggests that some family court decisions can have devastating long lasting consequences. This article considers the reasons why the ‘best interests’ narrative has dominated discussion in this area and asks, by considering the process of public family court decisions, whether less restrictive thinking is indicated. It is concluded that the public family law process lacks the checks and balances of the criminal justice system in its decision making, however the consequences of a decision, although made on a lower standard than that of a criminal court, are as severe for the child, the parents, wider family and for society generally if decisions are flawed but not recognised and addressed in the context of a miscarriage of justice.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:child protection, family courts, best interests, public family law, miscarriages of justice
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Business and Law
ID Code:24666
Deposited By: Professor L. Devine
Deposited On:13 Jan 2015 10:52
Last Modified:20 Jun 2018 07:06

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