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.

DFJ News News


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His Honour Judge Wildblood QC (Designated Family Judge for this area) will chair a debate about non consensual adoption on :

April 27th at the Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre from 4.30- 6.30pm

Four barristers will present the arguments both for and against, followed by brief presentations from a diverse panel of experts. The debate will then open to the floor and at the conclusion all will vote.

Speaking for non-consensual adoption : Kathryn Skellorn QC and Zahid Hussain

Speaking against non-consensual adoption : Frances Judd QC and Lucy Reed

The barristers have agreed to assist in the presentation of the arguments for and against non-consensual adoption as a springboard for discussion, and the arguments they present do not necessarily represent their personal views. The barristers were allocated roles in the debate having agreed to participate.

This event is open to all and is free of charge but places are limited and you will need to book your place in advance here, via the UWE website.

We expect demand for this event to be high. In the event that you cannot make it PLEASE email Emma Whewell at UWE ( so your place can be reallocated.

Please read the GROUND RULES for this event – they are what makes it possible for the organisers to run events of this sort and all participants are expected to stick to them.

DFJ News News

Poem Competition to raise funds for litigants / parents

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His Honour Judge Wildblood QC is running a competition for the best ten poems for children, with the intention of seeing if funds can be raised for the Personal Support Unit and for the provision of early therapeutic intervention for young parents.

If you or someone you know would like to enter the competition please send the poem or poems to Paul Bryson of the Personal Support Unit at Bristol@the, marked ‘for Paul Bryson, poetry competition’.

Poems can be written by adults or children but should be intended to be read by children aged between five and thirteen. They may be any length and must be the original work of the person on whose behalf they are sent. The closing date is 31st March 2016.

Mr Justice Baker and Ms Helen Andrews (the court manager at Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre) have kindly agreed to judge the poems, after a sift if necessary, and will identify the best ten. We will then see if we can get them published in order to raise funds.


Free Family Law Session 20 Jan 2016

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Free Family Law Session 20th January 2016

Wednesday 20th January 2016
6.30pm – 8.00pm (tea/ coffee from 6.00pm)

Venue: University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Bristol, BS16 1QY (easily accessible by road, rail and bus)

Following the success of the first free family law session at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre in October of last year, a second free Bristol family law session is planned to take place on Wednesday 20 January 2016 from 18:00-20:00 at the University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Bristol.

The event is aimed at anyone interested in finding out more about the Family Court, all professionals working in the field of family law, journalists and students.

Join HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC, designated family judge for the Bristol area, and a panel of experts to hear about the work of the Family Court and what to do if you are faced with a personal or family disagreement.

Following feedback from the first event, new topics and speakers have been added and the question and answer session will be extended to promote further debate.

The topics covered will include:

  • How to access help and support if faced with a personal or family disagreement
  • The role and work of the Social Worker
  • The role and work of the Guardian
  • How decisions are made about children

You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the practice of the Family Court. The panel of experts will include:

  • HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC, Designated Family Judge
  • Sarah Stott, Cafcass
  • Patrick Moreno, Senior Lecturer at UWE, specialising in children’s social work
  • Louise Tickle, Journalist
  • Judi Evans, Barrister, St John’s Chambers
  • Lucy Reed, St John’s Chambers
  • Sarah Phillimore, St John’s Chambers
  • Zahid Hussain, Barrister, St John’s Chambers
  • Emma Whewell, Senior Lecturer in Law, UWE

Register now

You may apply for a place here.

Registration and refreshments will be available from 18:00. The event will start at 18:30 and finish at 20:00.

For more information visit; the site is aimed at people who are involved in or may be involved in a case in the Family Court in this area (Bristol, Weston, Gloucester and Bath). It sets out the range of help that is available locally, and provides basic information about how the Family Court works.

Information about parking etc is on the UWE site.

Cost: Free
Contact: Emma Whewell
Telephone: +44 (0)117 328 3897


Bailiff service of domestic violence injunctions

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Where somebody applies for a non-molestation or occupation order (domestic violence injunction) but they don’t have a lawyer, the court bailiffs will usually serve the order on the person who it relates to on their behalf. The bailiffs at Bristol ask if you can provide a photograph when you come to court to help them identify the person they are trying to serve. An injunction is not effective until it is served.


How to communicate with the court

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The Family Delivery Manager at Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre (dealing with Bath, Bristol and Weston) asks that in any correspondence with the court you should please quote

  • your case number,
  • the name of the Judge dealing with your case,
  • any future hearing date or deadline.

Please put all of this information in the subject line of any e-mail or any correspondence you send to the court.

This will enable the court to prioritise correspondence appropriately and ensure it gets to the right Judge.
The only e-mail address which should be used is


Free Family Law Session open to all – 1 Oct

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UPDATE – See write up of this on the Child Protection Resource blog here.

What does the Family Court do? … This is your chance to find out.
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Join His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC, designated family judge for the Bristol area, and a panel of legal experts to hear about how the Family Court works, what to expect and where to get helpful information.

Find out what the Family Court does, what it’s like going to Court and what to expect in terms of: paper work, giving evidence and the hearing process in general.

Get information about Legal Aid, the support available when you attend Court by yourself and alternatives to the Court process.

This will be an opportunity for you to come to the court building and ask questions about the practice of the Family Court.*

Who should attend?

  • Anyone interested in finding out more about the Family Court
  • All professionals in the field of family law
  • Journalists
  • Students

Other materials covered

  • What are Private Law Orders and upon what basis are they decided?
  • Public Law Orders (Supervision, Care, Placement and other Orders)
  • Civil Partnership and Divorcing Couples
  • Who decides on Cases?
  • What happens after a case?

The panel

Numbers are limited so book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment (booking via Eventbrite).

*Please note that individual cases will not be discussed.


Want this site in your area? Familycourtinfo website licensing project

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This site was created for family court users in the Bristol “Designated Family Judge area”. We’re really pleased that with the help of The Transparency Project we are now able to license the site to groups in other areas of England & Wales, so that they can provide something similar to families in their locality without reinventing the wheel. Details of the project can be found on The Transparency Project website here.