In a post published on 15th July, we asked parents, extended family members and children with experience of the family courts to tell us what they thought of the family justice system, in one word.

We gathered the responses, which were submitted to the website and our Twitter and Facebook pages, and they make for bleak reading.

These are the words people used to describe their perception of the family courts in England and Wales:

  • Non-evidence (based)
  • Unjust
  • Oppressive
  • Draconian
  • Inconsistent
  • Dishonest
  • Brutal
  • Inhumane
  • Cabal
  • Unacceptable
  • Unethical
  • Dangerous
  • Lazy
  • Diabolic
  • Shambolic
  • Self-serving
  • Disgraceful
  • Abusive
  • Abhorrent
  • Traffickers
  • Inadequate
  • Corrupt
  • Kakistocrats
  • Blind
  • Incompetent
  • Catastrophic
  • Useless
  • Criminal

This list is more than just a series of criticisms, it offers much-needed insight into how the system makes people feel, which is hugely significant.

While not everyone inside the system is guilty of poor practice, we hope that policy makers, judges and child welfare professionals will use this list as critical feedback and start to think about the ways in which the system can be improved in a meaningful way.

The UK’s family courts have come under scrutiny for the last decade for its poor handling of family cases, wide variations in the quality of support and services on offer and widespread unethical behaviour inside councils, courts and medical professionals’ practices.

The nation’s independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has also exposed deeply alarming levels of child abuse at the hands of child welfare professionals inside the system.

Add a heading