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Government move giving children a voice in court hearings is positive news for families

Justice minister Simon Hughes recently announced that children will have a say in family proceedings in England and Wales in the future during a Voice of the Child annual conference.

The move will mean that children aged 10 and above will have a legal right to express their wishes and feelings during family court hearings in a bid to place children and young people ‘at the heart of the family justice system’.

Tony Broadley, family specialist at Linder Myers Solicitors said: “As family law continues to move away from the traditional adversarial methods of dealing with the breakdown of marriages to more conciliatory approaches, this is a positive move which will ensure a greater focus on the needs of the children.

“Marriage breakdowns can be very emotionally charged with children often being caught in the middle of the cross fire. Mediation and collaborative law are now available for divorcing and separating couples and provide less contentious options to resolve issues involving children and their future care arrangements after the couple have dissolved their marriage or ended the relationship.

“This supports family values and helps to concentrate both the minds of the parents and their legal advisors on the most important issue which should be the health and wellbeing of the children.”

The age limit is in line with the age for criminal responsibility in England and Wales.

Ends

Find out more about our Family department Read ‘A complete legal guide to divorce and separation’

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