• Nicola Lewis

Life in the Family Court


In my other role working as a communication specialist in the courts (where I help children and vulnerable adults to communicate their evidence) I get a unique insight into how the wheels of justice are turning.

I have the utmost respect for the judges and the lawyers who do an amazing job. However it is beyond doubt that the system is creaking at the seams.

I have turned up for a week-long hearing in the family court, only to be told there was no judge available. We were all sent home for another 2 months.

Last week the case which had been heard by one judge, was transferred to a new court in a new building in front of a different Judge- on the Friday to start on the Monday. Fortunately again the Judge was incredibly thoughtful and took all reasonable steps to accommodate those inconvenienced by the change.

At the start of January I went to support someone's communication for the last past of a hearing which had spanned several days. Due to an administrative error the hearing had been bumped out of the court calendar and about eight other matters were due to be heard instead. Which meant 16 other people were sitting in the waiting room with us,some with children and young babies. You can imagine how the participants felt upon arrival when they could not find their names on the court list. They had been waiting for arrangements for their children to be sorted for some time.

So, when people say they just want their day in court, I sometimes wonder if they know what that looks like...

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