Progress of the Domestic Abuse Bill

The Domestic Abuse Bill is currently at the report stage in the House of Commons.

The government has announced a complete overhaul of how courts will deal with domestic abuse cases, which includes the following measures:-

  • separate entrances, waiting rooms and the ability to give evidence from behind a screen for victims;
  • greater powers for the judge to make barring orders to prevent perpetrators from making repeated applications;
  • judicial continuity so that one judge can deal with all of the hearings involving a particular family, in order to reduce the number of times a victim has to give evidence;
  • a review of the presumption that a child should have contact with both parents – this needs to be balanced with the risk of harm to the child and other parent posed by continuing contact;
  • trial of a new domestic abuse court which adopts an inquisitorial, rather than the current adversarial, approach; and
  • better training for those involved in the family justice system.

Our Head of Family Law, Joanna Toloczko, comments:-

“These are all good ideas, but I wonder whether adequate resources will be made available to implement them. For years now applicants have had the ability to tick a box on the C100 form (the form used to start an application relating to children) to indicate whether they need a separate waiting area or other special arrangements, but I have never known a court to action that request even if the box has been ticked and full details have been provided”.

If you have any questions about family law then contact Joanna Toloczko, Partner at Meaby & Co Solicitors on 0207 702 5034 or email jtoloczko@meaby.co.uk for more information.