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Child Care Cases

Volume 181: debated on Friday 23 November 1990

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To ask the Attorney-General what steps have been taken by the Lord Chancellor to nominate members of the judiciary to deal with child care cases in the higher courts under the Children Act 1989; and whether the location at which these hearings will take place have been determined.

The Children Act 1989 is due to be implemented on 14 October 1991. Central to the philosophy of the Act is the principle that children's cases in the higher courts should be heard by judicary who, by reason of their experience and training, are specialists in family work.

Under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, the Lord Chancellor will have the power to nominate such judiciary, with the concurrence of the president of the family division. The nomination process is expected to extend over a period of months, but as a first step the Lord Chancellor has, with the approval of the right honourable Sir Stephen Brown, president of the family division, named 47 circuit judges who will be known as "designated family judges". This group of judges will be based at the network of county court "care centres" and will have the primary responsibility for hearing the child care cases transferred to those centres from the magistrates courts.

Each centre will also provide the focus for a local implementation committee which will be chaired by the designated family judge and which will play a major role in developing implementation plans based on local circumstances. It is envisaged that these committees will begin their work well before October 1991.

The location of the "care centres" which were announced on 2 August have been confirmed following widespread consultation with justices' clerks, local authorities and other interest groups. The 50 locations, together with the name of the designated family judge assigned to each one, are as follows:



South Eastern circuit

BrightonHis Honour Judge Hammerton
ChelmsfordHis Honour Judge Groves TD RD
GuildfordHis Honour Judge Main QC
IpswichHis Honour Judge Barnett QC
LutonHis Honour Judge Hamilton
MedwayHis Honour Judge Russell Vick QC
Milton KeynesHis Honour Judge Tyrer
NorwichHis Honour Judge Hyam
ReadingHis Honour Judge Kenny
WatfordHis Honour Judge Stockdale

Midland and Oxford circuit

BirminghamHis Honour Judge Wilson Mellor QC
CoventryHis Honour Judge Harold Wilson
DerbyHis Honour Judge Morrison
LeicesterHis Honour Judge Young
LincolnHis Honour Judge Hutchinson
NorthamptonHis Honour Judge John Wilson
NottinghamHis Honour Judge Heald
OxfordHis Honour Judge Peter Crawford QC
PeterboroughHis Honour Judge Astill
StokeHis Honour Judge Kenneth Taylor
TelfordHis Honour Judge Shand
WolverhamptonHis Honour Judge Stuart-White
WorcesterHis Honour Judge Roy Ward QC

Western circuit

BristolHer Honour Judge Counsell
TauntonHis Honour Judge Willcock QC
PlymouthHis Honour Judge Sir Jonathan Clarke
TruroHis Honour Judge Cox
BournemouthHer Honour Judge McKinney
PortsmouthHis Honour Judge Wroath

Wales and Chester circuit

CardiffHis Honour Judge Norman Francis
ChesterHis Honour Judge Roy Woolley
Caernarfon and LlangefniHis Honour Judge Eifion Roberts QC
Warrington and Rhyl(to be appointed)
SwanseaHis Honour Judge Michael Evans QC
NewportHis Honour Judge David Glyn Morgan
Merthyr TydfilHis Honour Judge Graham Jones

Northern circuit

ManchesterHis Honour Judge Lees
LiverpoolHer Honour Judge Ebsworth



CarlisleHis Honour Judge Bell
BlackburnHis Honour Judge Lockett
LancasterHis Honour Judge Mahon

North Eastern circuit

HullHis Honour Judge Barker
LeedsHis Honour Judge Geoffrey Baker QC
NewcastleHis Honour Judge Paling
MiddlesbroughHis Honour Judge Peter Fox QC
SheffieldHis Honour Judge Fricker
SunderlandHis Honour Judge Carr
YorkHis Honour Judge Coles QC

The principal registry of the family division will act as the centre for child care cases in London. Mrs. Justice Bracewell, whose appointment as family division liaison judge for London was announced on 27 September, will be assigned special responsibility for this centre.