Category Archives: 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


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


Temporary Closure of Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre

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Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre

The main Bristol Family Court building on Redcliff Street in Bristol has suffered a serious flood and will not be opening for some time. Hearings are being held in other local court buildings in Bristol and the locality (largely Bristol Magistrates or Crown Courts). There is a temporary court office at the Magistrates court on Marlborough Street (by the bus station) and temporary phone numbers to use. These and other details are set out in a letter from the Court Manager, which you can read here.

Please note, although this site is described in that letter as “The Family Court website” we are independent of the judiciary and Court Service, although we are very happy to disseminate this and other information to court users and will post updates as and when we have them. Any queries about these arrangements should be directed to the court using the contact details provided in the letter.



Interactive theatre production : The State v The Family : Drawing the Line

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file-3Where : St Brendan’s Sixth Form College.

When : Bristol on Thursday 6 July 2017

Time : Doors Open at 4:00PM (From 4:30PM to 6:30PM)

Ticket Price: £0.00

The State v The Family : Drawing the Line
Do you work or have an interest in youth work, law, education, social services or guardianship? If yes, this training and awareness event could be for you! We will be exploring Domestic Violence, Public Law Adoption, Dysfunctional Families and Parent in Prison. Through interactive theatre, you will be encouraged to challenge the characters, as well as yourself, to raise your awareness of social issues and question your opinions and views of different situations.

How do I book a place?
If you would like to book into this event you can book on the ticketsource website here.


Religion should play no part within the law

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At 4.30 p.m. on 25th May 2017 in court 7 at The Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre we will hold a debate on the above subject. Speakers on each side of the motion will have no more than a total of 15 minutes to put across their arguments before you, the audience, will be asked to contribute to the debate. The event will be chaired by Judge Stephen Wildblood QC. The event will end by 6.10 pm.

The public and the media are welcome to this event and we hope for as diverse an audience as possible. We are keen to promote the work of the multi faith support unit that operates from our court.

Speakers will include the following :

John Scriven

John worked with a London law firm from 1977 to 2016. He was Chairman of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship from 2003 to 2011. He is the author of A Contractual Guide to Major Construction Projects (1999), EPC Contracts and Major Projects (2012), Belief and the Nation (2013) and he contributed toReligion and Law, Theos (2012) and Magna Carta Unravelled (2015).

Rev Paul Langham

Paul is an outstanding preacher who has chosen to speak against the motion. He says: ‘I think there are some very interesting lines of enquiry to pursue about what the Western world’s legal system would forfeit if underlying religious (specifically Christian as far as most Western nations are concerned) principles were jettisoned’.

Tom Eden- Bull

Although only 15 Tom spoke at the last debate that we held and did so with such outstanding fluency and maturity that we have asked him to return to speak at this conference.

We will send out a list of ground rules governing the debate.

Please only book into this event if you are sure that you will attend or if you will find someone else to take your place if you do not. It is unfair on others if you simply reserve a place without commitment to attending. We will ask you to make a contribution of £5 to the charity, the Personal Support Unit, if you do attend although this is without obligation.

You can book a place here.


Bristol – A pioneering Family court. But what more should we be doing?

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On the 4th May 2017 at 4.30 p.m. HHJ Wildblood QC and District Judge Cope will be leading a conference to explain what is being done here to help people have a better understanding of the work that we do in the Family Court.


However, more importantly, we will be inviting your views on what else we should be doing. In particular we want to hear your views about what more we should do to support litigants and help litigants in person. Your views matter and we want to hear them.
The public and the media are welcome to attend the conference which will run from 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. and will take place at The Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol, BS1 6GR.
If you would like to attend please book in by e-mailing Jerry Fowler. The address is
There is no charge for attending.


‘First one thousand days’ – Homestart Conference

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Friday the 23 June 2017

Are too many children coming into the care system? Can better community care prevent this?

Recent research has indicated that the number of children coming into care is rising and that this is even more prevalent in deprived areas. In view of drastic cutbacks in statutory funding to both children’s centres and voluntary organisations this figure is only likely to rise.

Homestart is one such organisation that supports vulnerable families and is holding this conference in part to fundraise.

Speakers include Anthony Douglas CEO of Cafcass, Dr Freda Gardner psychologist and court expert, Annie a mother who had her children removed from her and then returned after the court process, Professor Kate Morris head of social work at Sheffield University and researcher into this topic.

Conference to be chaired by Judge Stephen Wildblood QC

To be held at Eastington Community Centre (5 mins from Stroud M5 Junction 13 turn off) GL10 3AQ

Time 9.15am – 3.15pm

Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite here. Ticket enquiries (early booking discount, group/special discounts etc) should be sent to


Conference : LB Hackney v Williams – accommodation under s20 and HRA damages claims

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London Borough of Hackney v Williams [2017] EWCA Civ 26.
Conference 4.30 p.m. on 23rd March. Court 7, Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre

At 4.30 p.m. on 23rd March 2017 there will be a conference in Court 7 of the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol, BS1 6GR to consider the decision of the Court of Appeal in this case. In particular we will consider the implications of the case for practice relating to accommodation under section 20 of The Children Act 1989 and also to claims for damages under the Human Rights Act 1998.

The speakers will be announced in due course.

Those who wish to attend should inform Rebecca Cobbin ( If you book place please ensure you do attend or else that you find someone to take your place.

HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC


Documentary viewing : Prison, My parents and Me

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Showing of documentary on 16th March 2017 at 4.30
Prison, My parents and Me

On 16th March 2017 at 4.30 p.m. there will be a showing of the above documentary that was filmed by the BAFTA award winning company True Vision. It was shown, originally, in November 2016 for Children in Need. The Producer / Director, Catey Sexton, from True Vision will be present to speak about the filming of the documentary and the issues that arise in relation to the growing number of children with a parent in prison. The event will end by 6.10 p.m.

There is no charge for attending this event but the production team of True Vision has asked that those who attend should make a charitable donation to The Aletheia Foundation, which is a charity run by True Vision to help contributors in their films.

Numbers will be limited. We can sit 50 in the court (Court 17). Please can I ask you to make sure that, if you say that you will attend, you do so or arrange for a substitute. It would be very unfair if large numbers of people are turned away and you leave an empty seat.

If you wish to attend please email Rebecca Cobbin at the Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre (, giving your name and email address. Please direct any enquiries about the event to HHJ Wildblood QC via the court office, and not to Rebecca.


HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC



New LiP Service Information Sessions & Court Tours

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LiP Service (Bristol) Help for litigants in person


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.

These meetings will normally take place as follows:

Claimant (Civil)                  1st and 3rd Thursday of the month

Defendant (Civil)               2nd and 4th Thursday of the month

Applicant (Family)             1st and 3rd Friday of the month

Respondent (Family)        2nd and 4th Friday of the month

At the Bristol County Court, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol, BS1 6GR between 1 and 2pm

For more details and to book a place please call 01483 216 571 and ask about LiP Service.

Download LiP Service flyer.