A report released by The Centre for Justice Innovation last week has suggested piloting an integrated specialist domestic abuse court that would hear civil, criminal and family matters under just one judge.

The report came days after Michael Gove suggested the introduction of American-style ‘problem solving’ courts in England and Wales. Following a visit to the US, an impressed Gove tabled a meeting with members of the judiciary who he says are ‘very supportive’ of the idea.

Presently domestic abuse victims can find themselves having to attend criminal, civil and family courts in order to obtain a remedy, protection or to support a prosecution. According to the report, the new model is designed to have the same court hear all relevant matters. The idea is to have specialist prosecutors and sentencers on hand together with access to multi-national agencies who can offer support to victims.

The new court also aims to ensure that Magistrates play a bigger role in the rehabilitation of offenders to lower the risk of them re offending. It is further suggested that part of that role will be for Magistrates to hold review style meetings in the community to ‘motivate and monitor offenders’.

It is most likely that the model would be piloted in one court to test its efficacy before it is rolled out nationally. Until then, at least in the family court arena, we still have the present system in place for victims of domestic abuse. That is if the police are unable to assist a victim of domestic abuse an injunction can be sought from the Family Courts to protect them.

Farleys has specialist solicitors who are able to provide support and assistance to victims of domestic abuse to obtain protective injunctions. Farleys also works in conjunction with the local Women’s Centre in Accrington, who can help victims access other support such as counselling and assistance with re-housing if necessary. There can often be other associated problems where victims might require advice for instance, in relation to children matters, property matters and financial separation. Farleys family law solicitors can offer advice in relation to a wide range of matters. To speak to us, please get in touch here.