A total of 125 cross party MP’s led by Labour’s Louise Haigh wrote to the Ministry of Justice demanding an independent inquiry into the failure of the family courts to protect victims of abuse and their children.
Disappointingly the Ministry of Justice responded by saying that they would hold a snap (12 week) Inquiry but that it would not be independent. Retired senior Family Judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, remarked on the Victoria Derbyshire programme that they would discover nothing meaningful in just 12 weeks due to the complexity of domestic abuse.
More worrying, the advisors that the Ministry of Justice will take evidence from are not the lawyers who are specialists in working with abuse.
Cris McCurley of Ben Hoare Bell LLP and Jenny Beck of Beck Fitzgerald, both specialists in the field of domestic abuse, have written an open letter to the Ministry of Justice co- signed by approximately 140 concerned prominent lawyers calling for an independent inquiry which will be given the time needed to do this justice and that actually talks to the right people. It sounds obvious but for some reason the Ministry of Justice are currently not listening. The letter is co-signed by 11 QC’s, the current Victims Commissioner (Dame Vera Baird) and the immediate past president of the Family Bar Association.
Yesterday Cris and Jenny met with the Shadow Minister for Justice David Burgon in Parliament. He pledged his support and committed to doing what he can to help us to achieve a real inquiry which stands a chance of making positive changes to the current, very worrying, situation.
Read the open letter here – Letter to David Gauke MP
To see Jenny’s interview on Victoria Derbyshire see from 43 minutes into the programme on https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00062h9/victoria-derbyshire-21062019
Jenny is an award-winning family lawyer, committed to accessible justice and the rights of the individual. She is an entrepreneurial business leader, successful in creating and running high performing teams.
She is the former Chair of:
Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee
The ABS and New Law Advisory Council
Current Co-chair of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.
If you would like to add your name to this letter please email Jenny Beck at Jenny.firstname.lastname@example.org