§ Mr. Carrington
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 Attorney-General
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.222W
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:
Location Judge South Eastern circuit Brighton His Honour Judge Hammerton Chelmsford His Honour Judge Groves TD RD Guildford His Honour Judge Main QC Ipswich His Honour Judge Barnett QC Luton His Honour Judge Hamilton Medway His Honour Judge Russell Vick QC Milton Keynes His Honour Judge Tyrer Norwich His Honour Judge Hyam Reading His Honour Judge Kenny Watford His Honour Judge Stockdale Midland and Oxford circuit Birmingham His Honour Judge Wilson Mellor QC Coventry His Honour Judge Harold Wilson Derby His Honour Judge Morrison Leicester His Honour Judge Young Lincoln His Honour Judge Hutchinson Northampton His Honour Judge John Wilson Nottingham His Honour Judge Heald Oxford His Honour Judge Peter Crawford QC Peterborough His Honour Judge Astill Stoke His Honour Judge Kenneth Taylor Telford His Honour Judge Shand Wolverhampton His Honour Judge Stuart-White Worcester His Honour Judge Roy Ward QC Western circuit Bristol Her Honour Judge Counsell Taunton His Honour Judge Willcock QC Plymouth His Honour Judge Sir Jonathan Clarke Truro His Honour Judge Cox Bournemouth Her Honour Judge McKinney Portsmouth His Honour Judge Wroath Wales and Chester circuit Cardiff His Honour Judge Norman Francis Chester His Honour Judge Roy Woolley Caernarfon and Llangefni His Honour Judge Eifion Roberts QC Warrington and Rhyl (to be appointed) Swansea His Honour Judge Michael Evans QC Newport His Honour Judge David Glyn Morgan Merthyr Tydfil His Honour Judge Graham Jones Northern circuit Manchester His Honour Judge Lees Liverpool Her Honour Judge Ebsworth
Location Judge Carlisle His Honour Judge Bell Blackburn His Honour Judge Lockett Lancaster His Honour Judge Mahon North Eastern circuit Hull His Honour Judge Barker Leeds His Honour Judge Geoffrey Baker QC Newcastle His Honour Judge Paling Middlesbrough His Honour Judge Peter Fox QC Sheffield His Honour Judge Fricker Sunderland His Honour Judge Carr York His 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.