Category Archives: News

News

Another Event at Bristol Court in February

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NB THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO A DATE TO BE FIXED IN APRIL 2019. WATCH THIS SPACE.

On Weds 6 Feb at 4.30-6.pm there will be a debate on the question : ‘We make unnecessary use of care proceedings’. The debate will be held at Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre.

Further details will be posted here in due course. Meanwhile, please save the date. Booking will be required so please check back.

News

Events at Bristol Family Court in Jan and Feb 2019

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There are two forthcoming events at Bristol Family Justice Centre :

  • Early Permanence Legal Seminar, 23 January 2019 
  • Lecture : “How Information Technology and Modern Communication Systems Are Affecting Journalism and Family Law”, 27 February 2019

Both events are free but booking is essential. If you wish to attend either event please e-mail the Family Delivery Manager- Jerry Fowler : jerry.fowler@justice.gov.uk.

Further details are below.

 

Early Permanence Legal Seminar

Wednesday 23 January 2019 at 4.30pm


Screen Shot 2018-12-18 at 22.09.01

This event is hosted by the London Courts in partnership with CCS Adoption and Coram Centre for Early Permanence and supported by DfE funding. It will be chaired by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC.

The aim is to consider the role of the courts in decision making and hear from the experience of carers and recent research into early permanence.

The seminar offers topical exchange in the current policy context with and between leaders in the field, focussing on fostering for adoption and concurrent planning, the journey of carers, rights and duties towards birth families, contact, and clarity as to the legal process. It is underpinned by the new Practice Guidance The role of Fostering for Adoption in achieving early permanence for children and the recent update of longitudinal research into impact of concurrency planning.

View flyer.

 

Lecture : “How Information Technology and Modern Communication Systems Are Affecting Journalism and Family Law”

Wednesday 27 February 2019 at 4.30pm

Journalist Louise Tickle will be giving a lecture on “How Information Technology and Modern Communication Systems Are Affecting Journalism and Family Law”.

 

DFJ News News

Change of event details

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It has proved necessary to alter the arrangements for the theatre event on 11 January and the conference on 1 February 2018.

The theatre event at St Brendan’s College will now not take place on 11th January 2018. It has been necessary to put it back to 6.30 p.m. on 1st February. It will still take place at St Brendan’s College and tickets that have been bought for the 11th January are valid for that date. There is free parking there. The play, which shows a family that becomes involved in care proceedings, will end by 8.00 p.m. There will be pauses in the play when the audience can ask the actors (including me – I play the judge) questions about the roles that they are playing.

The conference on 1st February 2018 will now start at 4.00 p.m. and will finish by 5.15 p.m. (in order that those who wish to do so can attend the theatre event at St Brendan’s).

News

LiP Service and Radio 5

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LiP Service (Bristol)
Help for litigants in person
IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE COUNTY COURT AT BRISTOL

Are you involved in a court case or thinking about starting one?
Students from the universities in Bristol are holding information sessions where they will explain about the court procedure, what you can expect in court and what you need to do in preparation for the court hearing. You will be also given a tour of the court.

We are delighted to announce that Radio 5 will be joining us and recording the session on Thursday 1 February 2018. Book your place now (there is no obligation to speak to them)!
At the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre,
2 Redcliff Street, Bristol, BS1 6GR between 1 and 2pm
For more details and to book a place please telephone:
01483 216 571 and ask about LiP Service or you can book via our Facebook page.
Find us on Facebook LIP Service Bristol

DFJ News News

Newsletter from HHJ Wildblood QC – Dec 17

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1. The main reason for sending out this newsletter is to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and New Year. This has been a very hard year for many people, both professionally and personally. But January brings about the beginning of a new year which, hopefully, will be flood-free at very least. Thank you very much for bearing with the difficulties that we have had in Bristol and for pulling together, as everyone did. For me the flood had two particular benefits. I gained a new nickname – Scuba Steve and also was forced to buy an expensive new suit – £45 from Primark with a £2 tie to go with it.

2. An indication of how hard everyone worked through the dark ages of the floods must be that our timeliness actually improved during that period. I am sure that those whose Christmas cheer lies in statistics will revel in ecstasy, knowing that public law cases took an average of 23.8 weeks here during the third quarter of the year.

3. Events – We have some fairly chunky events lined up for the New Year and I would be grateful for any support that you can give to them. They are all advertised on the family court info website. On 11th January 2018 there is an interactive theatre production at St Brendan’s College theatre, Bristol of a typical family scene leading to care proceedings in which the audience gets to discuss things directly with the actors (who stay in role); you can book to it on ticket source https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/ . On 1st February 2018 there is a conference details of which are at http://www.familycourtinfo.org.uk/news/its-your-local-family-court-what-can-we-do-better/ ; the idea of the conference is to listen to your views about what we could do better as a family court. The public and the press are invited to both events, of course.

4. Re S-F – I have been asked to include in this newsletter the following message from local authorities following the case of Re S-F: ‘The recent case of S-F (A Child) 2017 EWCA Civ 964 (12 July 2017) highlights the need for a local authority to file the Child Permanence Report (a CPR or Annex B) and the Agency Decision Makers record of decision with any application for a placement order. In his judgment Ryder J describes these as disclosable documents susceptible to cross examination. Following this the local authorities in the area are getting increasing demands for these documents to be served on the parents with the LA final evidence. However, according to the Family Practice Rules the report is a confidential document and can only be disclosed to the parties with a direction of the court (FPR Rule 14.13). Given this we need practitioners and the courts to make sure that, at any CMH/FCMH, where an application for a placement order appears likely and directions are given anticipating such an application, the court should also be asked to consider making a direction for the disclosure of the CPR/Annex B report (and the ADM minute) to the parties.’

5. Bundles – I always vowed that, if I ever became a judge, I would not start a case with what some call bundle rage. It is always unnerving for everyone when a case starts on that sort of note and, for parents who face the possible loss of their children, it must appear as though people are focussing on the wrong thing. However, I broke my vow this week and issued a judgment (X Council v A, B and C) which has been circulated. It makes no sense at all to land a bundle of over 1,000 pages on a court at 4.30 p.m. on the last working day before a final hearing for all the reasons that I give in the judgment. PD 27A is there for a reason and simply must be complied with. If you haven’t seen the judgment please get hold of a copy and read it. Every judge and magistrate I speak to tells stories of ridiculous bundles being handed in late. This really does have to stop.

6. I have been asked by Local Authorities to remind all practitioners that there has to be co-operation in agreeing what should go into a bundle. I agree that is so but it does not detract in any way from the responsibility on the Applicant, usually the Local Authority, to produce the bundle (see para 3.1 of the Practice Direction). Further it has been suggested that the court also shares a responsibility for the contents of the bundle; that is incorrect and is not what the Practice Direction says. If the court gives a specific direction about the contents of the bundle the direction must be complied with. However, the court cannot engage in discussions about the bundle’s contents outside a court hearing and should not be expected to. How can the court be expected, as a matter of generality, to direct what should or should not go into a bundle when it has not read the documents?

7. Disclosure Protocol – For the reasons that I gave in the X Council v A, B and C judgment, I am very opposed to local protocols. However, I have been asked to approve a local protocol for disclosure of Local Authority documents in private law proceedings. I have done so but do wish to stress that the protocol is over-ridden by any specific orders that are made in specific proceedings. Orders take priority over local protocols.

8. I wish you a very Happy Christmas. There is a song on Youtube about 2016 that some of you might know. 2017 has had its moments too. 2018 feels as though it’s going to be a better year.
Stephen Wildblood
21st December 2017.

News

It’s your local family court – what can we do better?

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NB THIS WILL NOW START AT 4pm

 

On 1st February 2018 at between 4.30 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. there will be  a conference in Court 7 of The Civil and Family Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol, BS1 6GR which will explain some of the initiatives in place in the Bristol Family Court and take your suggestions about how things might be done better.

Admission to the conference is free and the public, including the press, are specifically invited.

The conference will be chaired by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC.

RSVP to Jerry Fowler : jerry.fowler@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk. NB An earlier version of this post said no RSVP was required – it is!

News

11 January : Interactive theatre production : How much risk should there be before the state intervenes?

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NB THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED to 1 FEB.

 

The theatre event at St Brendan’s College will now not take place on 11th January 2018. It has been necessary to put it back to 6.30 p.m. on 1st February. It will still take place at St Brendan’s College and tickets that have been bought for the 11th January are valid for that date. There is free parking there. The play, which shows a family that becomes involved in care proceedings, will end by 8.00 p.m. There will be pauses in the play when the audience can ask the actors (including me – I play the judge) questions about the roles that they are playing.

The conference on 1st February 2018 will now start at 4.00 p.m. and will finish by 5.15 p.m. (in order that those who wish to do so can attend the theatre event at St Brendan’s).

Hurricane Storm - The state v The family RGB 2018

News

Flood Update

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See attached letter from the Court Manager at Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre. We have extracted below the information relevant to those using the Family Court.

 

Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre’s car park was subject to a severe flood on Tuesday 27 June 2017. This has rendered the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre to be unavailable to house any court hearings or administrative support from HMCTS court staff until further notice.

The following service provision is therefore in place until further notice:-

 

Counter Services for Civil and Family

The main public counter servicing all civil and family enquiries is temporarily located on the 1st floor at Bristol Magistrates Court, Marlborough Street, Bristol from 9.30am to 2pm (Monday to Friday).

 

Court hearings

Every effort is being made to keep all listed hearings in Bristol or in close proximity to Bristol. Other court venues such as Bath Magistrates Court, Taunton Combined Court Centre, Gloucester County Court and North Somerset Courthouse in Worle are also being used (if required).

The court listing team will contact parties giving as much notice as possible in the event that travelling to other court venues is required or if your case has to be adjourned due to lack of court room accommodation.

In the event of your case being adjourned this will be supported by a judicial decision as listing is deemed as a judicial function.

 

Court bundles

Due to limited storage capacity at the temporary venues, all court users are asked to take any bundles with them at the conclusion of the hearing. Any bundles left in venues will be subject to confidential wasting procedures and will not be retained.

 

Consultation rooms

There are limited consultation rooms available to use in our temporary hearing venues. If you occupy one of these consultation rooms for any reason, please ensure that you remove any possessions including court papers when you leave them. Please do not under any circumstances, leave any items in these rooms as this poses security risks.

 

E-mail services

This remains unaffected by this incident and due to the current situation is the preferred method of communication but HMCTS appreciate that not all court users have access to e-mail services.

Please note that due to the flood, the court staff have only had limited access to e-mails but that situation is now improving.

As a result there may be a delay in responding to your enquiry. If you are sending e-mails to the court for hearings, please include the case number, date of hearing and the name of the Judge hearing this case (if this is known to you).

The court e-mail addresses are available on the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre court finder page:-courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk.

 

Payments of court fees and warrant payments.

Our normal service of accepting payments (by all methods) has been restored. Payments can be accepted via the temporary counter services at Bristol Magistrates Court between the hours of 9.30am to 2pm (Monday to Friday) or by telephone to: 0117 9302430 between the hours of 9am to 4pm (Monday to Friday).

 

Personal Support Unit (PSU)

This service has been re-located to the 1st floor (room adjacent to Court 6) at Bristol Magistrates Court, Marlborough Street, Bristol. They also have a temporary contact number for customers to arrange appointments or enquiries which is 07756 976823.

 

Postal services

All post destined for the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre is being re-directed to Bristol Magistrates Court. As a result there may be a delay in responding to your enquiry or your issuing process. Please defer from contacting the court asking for updates on routine enquiries as this will enable them to deal with backlogs more quickly.

 

Telephone hearings

Any court users involved in telephone hearings will be provided with the number for their conference provider to call by the listing team giving as much notice as possible.

 

Telephone services

HMCTS are in the process of restoring the main switchboard number but until then please use the following direct dial numbers:-

Centralised Listing for civil and family cases: 0117 9302411

Family (including Divorce enquiries): 0117 9302442