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.



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Where and when:

2nd February 2017  from 4.30 p.m. to 6.10 p.m.

Court 7 of the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol, BS1 6GR.


There is no charge for attending this conference.


1 ½ hours.

How to book in for the conference :

If you would like to attend, please contact Kirsty Hey (Marketing Executive at Zenith Chambers) by email at You will asked to provide your name and contact details when booking in.


A bang up to date summary of the essentials that you need to know when conducting a cohabitation case, including:

• Constructive Trusts
• Proprietary Estoppel
• Equitable accounting
• Procedure, focusing on the tricky area of costs in civil proceedings
• Relationship with family proceedings
• Quantification of claims
• Costs funding
• Procedure where there is also a Tolata claim

By whom:

Elizabeth Darlington and Laura Heaton.

Elizabeth Darlington practises and writes extensively in this area of law. She has a busy nationwide practice based at Zenith Chambers, Leeds and 1 Garden Court, London.

Laura Heaton is a highly respected member of the bar who practises from 29 Bedford Row, London and has particular expertise in matrimonial finance, Schedule 1 and cohabitation.

Book launch by lecturers – Sweet and Maxwell Ltd has just published the third edition of the practitioner’s text by Elizabeth Darlington and Laura Heaton – “Cohabitation and Trusts of Land” (with a preface by Sir Ernest Ryder and with His Honour Judge Wildblood QC as consultant editor).


Debate : The only right of young people is the right to be protected

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On 19th January 2017 there will be a debate, which is open to the public and the media, as to whether the above statement is correct. The debate will be chaired by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC and will take place in Court 7 at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol BS16GR from 4.30 p.m. to 6.10 p.m. that day.

There is no charge for attendance and, for lawyers, the event will attract 1 ½ hours of CPD points. We are very keen to welcome members of the public, particularly young people, to attend. The debate will begin with short speeches on the above statement, two for and two against. We will then ask for views to be expressed by members of the audience.

We do need to ask those wishing to attend to book in to the debate so that we can keep a check on numbers. Please book here.


Mothers in recurrent care proceedings : how do we break the cycle?

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Mothers in recurrent care proceedings : how do we break the cycle? 

Family Law Class 20th October Bristol Civil Justice Centre

The event will take place on 20th October at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre from 4.30 – 6pm.

Tickets are free and open to any one with an interest in this subject. Places will be limited so please contact Emma Whewell at to book your ticket. Please mark your email as ‘Family law event 20th October’.

Speakers will include:

  • Dr Karen Broadhurst who has been carrying out important research into why some mothers are so vulnerable to repeated care proceedings and removal of successive children
  • Sally Jenkins of Newport Council who will discuss the development of their recent programme of help and support for vulnerable mothers
  • Dr Freda Gardner will discuss the importance of early therapeutic intervention
  • Surviving Safeguarding, a parent and campaigner, will discuss some issues of concern she has about the types of intervention proposed for mothers

Presentations will finish approx 5.10pm and discussion will then open to the floor. We are keen to get a conversation going about what works well and what could work better to help these mothers, with a particular view to developing programmes of intervention in the Bristol area.


Poetry Competition Winners!

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Finally, we are able to announce the winners of the poetry competition, thank you for bearing with us.

A huge thank you to everyone who entered and also to our three judges Helen Andrews, court manager, Elinor Bagenal from Chicken House books & the Honourable Mr Justice Baker.

The top 3 in each category are listed below and the winning poems are also set out in full below.

Poems written by children

Winner: Melanie McCabe – Two Roads
Second: Igi Waugaman Reed – My Mummy is a lawyer
Third: Jamie Houlden-Soan – Stars

Poems written by adults

Winner: Roger Zair – Family Outing
Second: Christopher Sharp – An Epiphany
Third: Dornford Roberts – One Hundred Ants

Two Roads by Melanie McCabe

I see two paths to old age; somewhere I do not want to go
But the beast chasing assures me that I cannot linger
I cannot turn back, I must go ever on
But on which path? The decision is eternal

One path is labelled ‘success’, one ‘failure’.
One is paved in gold, the other in mud.

Hearing the breath of the beast behind,
I see world-wide acclaim.
I see fame, glory, wealth.
I see a place in the history books.
I see me, admired and envied by all.
I see success.

Blinded by gold, I fail to notice the signs have been switched.

My feet aching from the hard metal underfoot,
I see working for a meaningless goal.
I see my comfort in cold metal and the mindless love of people who do not know me.
I see striving to please something that does not exist.
I see me, someone I do not admire or envy.
I see failure.

Family Outing by Roger Zair

We got to the station
in good time for the train,
heaved our suitcases
the length of the platform:
I must have been five.

Because we were early
we sat on a bench.
Porters shouting, engines shunting,
clanking and whistling and steam:
I didn’t mind waiting.

I’d eaten my sandwiches
when the tannoy announced
our train cancelled, a breakdown.
So we all came home with our cases:
and I asked if we could do that again.


Public Debate 21 July 2016 : The motion: ‘Our child protection system is too risk averse’

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A public debate will be held on 21 July 2016 at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre

The motion will be : ‘Our child protection system is too risk averse’

The debate will be chaired by HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC with the kind permission of the President of the Family Division. It has been heavily supported by UWE.

The debate will take place between 4.30 p.m. and 6.10 p.m. in Court 17 at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre, 2 Redcliff Street, Bristol. BS1 6GR

Speaking in favour of the motion (that our child protection system is too risk averse) will be Anthony Douglas, The Chief Executive of Cafcass and Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services. Speaking against the motion will be Susan Jacklin QC. There will be a panel of experts who, also, will speak briefly in relation to the motion and then questions and points of view will be sought from the audience.

There is no charge for this event however there are clear ground rules in relation to it which are available here and which will be made available to each person attending.

If you would like to attend please book here. There are limited places available so you are advised to book early. If you do book a place and cannot attend please email or arrange for a substitute to take your place.


Poetry Competition update

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A huge thank you for submitting entries of your own or on behalf of others for the competition.

The (extended) closing date was 30 April and the next step is to present the poems to our judges. All the entries will be redacted so the judging is anonymous.

The judging panel comprises:

Helen Andrews – Operations Manager at the Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre
The Hon Mr Justice Baker – Family Division Liaison judge for the Western Circuit
Elinor Bagenal – Rights Director at Chicken House Books

We hope to be able to announce the winners in early June.

Thank you all again for your poems, we had a great response.