‘To what extent can the challenges of the Cafcass system be addressed by appropriate legislative reform?’ ‘UK family courts need urgent legislative reform to address lacunas in Cafcass recommendation system in the family courts, to save the future generations.’
The primary mandate of the Government’s Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (hereafter ‘Cafcass’) system, is to facilitate the protection of the interests of minors within the family courts of England.
1 Specifically, the Cafcass system’s primary role is to promote the amicable resolution of disputes between conflicting parents and to facilitate the family court’s decision regarding the issue of ‘parental alienation’.
2 Cafcass provides recommendations concern- ing the residence of a minor to the family court, which enables prompt determination of the is- sues that affect a child’s interest during private children proceedings.
3 The suitability of Eng- land’s family courts to adjudicate disputes involving children under the Cafcass system was reit- erated in the recent Harm Report of 2020, which refuted the ability of the existing structures to promote the welfare of children. For instance, as Beckett explained, the family courts primarily rely on the recommendations or suggestions of the Cafcass with the opinion, superseding any other independent professional evidence that may arise in the course of the private proceedings
1 Cafcass. About Us. [online] Available from: [Accessed 29 December 2020]. 2 Ibid, para 3.
3 F v L  EWHC 1377 (Fam).
4 Jonathan Beckett. ‘Domestic Abuse? The Complexities of High Conflict Disputes: The Work of Cafcass.’ (2018) 4 IJSAR 3, 12-36.
Research Proposal: To what extent can the challenges of the Cafcass system be addressed by appropriate legislative reform. 4
Over the past decades, the family courts have shown a tendency to approve the recommenda- tions provided by Cafcass regarding the residence of a child even where a mother claims domes- tic abuse.5 The sole reliance of the family courts on the opinions of Cafcass or social services is detrimental to the minors, thereby a violation of right to equality.6 According to Lowenstein, there is a discrepancy in domestic or sexual abuse cases where parental alienation claims emerge, with the Cafcass system and family courts supporting the fathers during claims of sexual or do- mestic abuse.7 Consequently, there is the inherent need for changes in the Cafcass system involv- ing children by introducing an evidence-based approach to private children proceedings in the family courts.8 The family courts must rely on recommendations based on evidence instead of opinions as practiced by Cafcass, hence preventing lifelong harm to children during private chil- dren proceedings.9 Therefore, the private children proceedings should embody a jury or a panel of judges to mitigate against the potential danger of biased judicial outcome that solely relies on the Cafcass or social services’ opinion. Family court’s decisions in private children proceedings should rely on sound legal evidence based on a balance of probabilities, as required in civil cas- es.
There is a recognition of problematic areas in law, which has been the motivation to research this area; to offer a solution to remedy. My proposed outline of research for the LL.M disserta-
Type of service: Dissertation services
Type of assignment: Dissertation
Number of Sources: 180
Academic level: Doctoral
Paper Format: OSCOLA
Line spacing: Double
Language style: UK English