Public Family Law cases in the context of Miscarriages of Justice


Public family law decisions in English courts are ostensibly made to serve the best interests of the child, whose interests are given paramountcy under the Children Act 1989. Hence, there is little recognition of the capacity for decisions to constitute miscarriages of justice. This issue is of concern as research suggests that some family court decisions can have devastating long lasting consequences. This article considers the reasons why the ‘best interests’ narrative has dominated discussion in this area and asks, by considering the process of public family court decisions, whether less restrictive thinking is indicated. It is concluded that the public family law process lacks the checks and balances of the criminal justice system in its decision making, however the consequences of a decision, although made on a lower standard than that of a criminal court, are as severe for the child, the parents, wider family and for society generally if decisions are flawed but not recognised and addressed in the context of a miscarriage of justice.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > English Languages and Applied Linguistics
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics
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College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Law School
Additional Information: This is the author's accepted manuscript version of a paper published in Argument and Critique, licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY 3.0 license [].
Uncontrolled Keywords: Child protection,family courts,best interests,public family law,miscarriages of justice
Publication ISSN: 2059-7606
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 07:27
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2023 14:02
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Related URLs: https://www.arg ... blications.html (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2015-01-15
Authors: Devine, Lauren
Parker, Stephen



Version: Accepted Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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