I a sorry to have been neglecting the blog recently but contrary to any pronouncements you may have heard on the radio myself and my colleagues are not noticing any discernible drop in our workloads. A slightly different pattern seems to be emerging involving much later instructions which is a real problem for barristers to accommodate. We are also suffering from an increase in cases being either taken out of lists at the last minute (I have twice turned up to court recently to find this has happened and once got told on Friday evening at about 6 that Monday's case had been removed by the Judge for lack of court time).
I was dismayed to be told in a care case in South London last week - which had been ongoing since November at least - that a Guardian had not been appointed. Not only that - the solicitor for the children had written asking about allocation towards the end of November and only received a response on 4.3.10. The response was that there are once again 399 unallocated cases in London. In the particular case there is no likelihood of a Guardian for several months.
In a private law case in Reading recently the DJ said frankly that there was no point even asking Cafcass to report. If they did it would take at least 6 months. Although the child was very young so that information about wishes and feelings in a general sense were not likely to assist the court there were issues about what was happening during supported contact and the child's reaction to contact which, of course, the contact centre was not willing to provide a formal report about.
How is it going in your neck of the woods?
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