HC Deb 26 February 2001 vol 363 cc575-6W
Mr. Cohen

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when she will make proposals to improve court procedures in respect of custody and contact arrangements in cases of family breakdown; if they will include arrangements for better protection of children and vulnerable spouses; and if she will make a statement. [150801]

Jane Kennedy

The Government are currently considering a number of ways in which court arrangements in respect of residence and contact for children could be improved. One area of particular concern is unnecessary delay in children's cases. A scoping study to determine the need for reform of court procedures, in older to reduce delay, is currently being considered. On the specific issue of protecting children and vulnerable spouses, the Lord Chancellor has welcomed the report of the Children Act Sub-Committee on child contact and domestic violence and is currently considering, with the President of the Family Division, what further action may be necessary. The Sub-Committee will also shortly produce a consultation paper on the equally sensitive area of the facilitation and enforcement of contact orders. In all these areas the Government regard the interests and welfare of the child as paramount.