Justice Charity works to make practical, realistic, and timely changes to create a fair, accessible, and equal justice system in the UK.
One such part of our legal system, family law, is in most cases highly inaccessible to those who use it, especially 'lay users' with marginalised experiences, characteristics or vulnerabilities. The family law system is one made up of processes designed for lawyers - yet, with legal fees out of reach for many and huge cuts to Legal Aid restricting access to legal representation, many individuals in the private family courts find themselves self-representing through this complex and challenging process. If a justice system is inaccessible to those who use it, the fairness of its outcomes is undermined. Justice Charity has been looking at the ramifications of this.
With their Family Justice Working Party, which includes members from CafCass, the judiciary, academia, the legal profession and the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, they are seeking to explore and answer one central question: what does a private family justice system, which is designed around the needs and rights of the parents and children who use it, look like?
This work is split into three strands - focusing on the experiences of users before, during, and after court, and what might be changed at each of those stages to improve experiences and outcomes for parents and children.
Treebeard Trust provided two years of core funding from 2019-2021; since 2021 we are focusing our support on the Family Court Working Party.