This website makes a very important contribution to the system of family justice in this area. It has been created by a team of lawyers who are dedicated to the promotion of the welfare of those that the family court and legal community seek to serve. The team has worked under the outstanding leadership and guidance of Lucy Reed, a barrister from St John’s Chambers in Bristol, who designed the website herself. Like the members of that team, I am determined to ensure that the system of family justice in this area is both accessible to all and optimal. Therefore it has been my privilege to offer my support to that team, to work with them and witness Lucy’s leadership and drive.
This is a website for the community as a whole, not just lawyers. It is intended, in particular, to help people who may find themselves involved in distressing family disputes. A key feature of it is that it helps people to access legal, emotional and social support which, hopefully, may help them to avoid litigation. Family litigation has to be a last resort because it is both emotionally and financially very demanding. If the demands of that sort of litigation are to be avoided or mitigated people need to have access to as much information and support as possible. It is only in that way that they will know what to expect and how to avoid some of the pitfalls. If the litigation cannot be avoided then we all need to make it as just, intelligible and accessible as we can.
I will use this corner of the website to publish information about the running of the court in this area in my role as Designated Family Judge. I want to do my best to ensure that people know what we are doing and how we are all striving to do our best for the local community in these difficult times. The website is not a court service website (that is, it is not a site that speaks in any way on behalf of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service). It is not a Ministry of Justice website either. It is a website that has been created by the dedicated and independent team that I have described. I pay tribute to them for what they have done and wish to say how grateful I am to them.
HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC
Designated Family Judge for Avon, North Somerset and Gloucestershire