Improving child protection extending or limiting the role of the court?

10 April 2013

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If you have missed out on this event, have a look at our upcoming conference Responding to Historical Child Sexual Abuse: A multi-disciplinary forum on May 31, 2013.


About the lecture:

Australia and England and Wales face many similar problems in relation to their court systems for child protection, and systems in both countries have been the subjects of recent reviews (Wood Report NSW 2008; Victoria's vulnerable children 2012, Family Justice Review 2011 in England and Wales).

Although the responsibilities of judicial officers in this area is widely accepted- providing a welfare response to children and holding child protection agencies to account - there is far less agreement about what is done, the way it is done and concern about the time it takes. In addition, in England and Wales the continually increasing cost of legal services and court resources for this work in an age of austerity adds its own pressures.

The paper will explore responses to these challenges - the modernisation of family justice- to restrict the use of additional experts, to increase judicial control, to improve judicial understanding of child welfare and to change judicial culture. It will draw on my empirical work on care proceedings and families on the edge of care in England and Wales, and experience derived from my work on the Family Justice Council and the Judicial Studies Board.

About the speaker:

Judith Masson M.A., PhD is Professor of Socio-legal Studies at the Bristol University, specialising in Child Law. She has undertaken numerous studies on law in social work including: step-parent adoption; representation of children: Out of Hearing (1999); partnership with parents of looked after children Lost and Found (1999); and emergency intervention: Protecting Powers (2007). In 2007-8, Judith directed a project examining 400 child protection cases which resulted in court proceedings - Care Profiling Study (Ministry of Justice, 2008). This was followed by an ESRC-funded qualitative study on the representation of parents in such proceedings, Pearce et al, Justfollowing Instructions? (2011). She is currently completing another ESRC-funded study on legal advice for, and agency decision-making about, families on the edge of care proceedings. Judith has been a specialist adviser for Parliamentary Committees and a member of the Judicial Studies Board. From 2004-2011she was the academic member of the Family Justice Council.

Lawyers/barristers: attendance at this seminar is equal to 1MCLE/CPD units.

NOTE:The venue has changed for this seminar. It is now being held in Seminar Room 440 on Level 4 ofthe New Law Building ANNEX. The easiest entry to this building is through the Taste Cafe on Eastern Avenue.

Time: 5.30pm-6.30pm

Location: Seminar Room 440, Level 4, New Law Building Annex (F10A) Eastern Avenue University of Sydney

Cost: Free, registration essential

Contact: PLaCE Coordinator

Phone: (02) 9351 0323

Email: 43573c66170329235f26741a410114220e6c070146661b19