Review of civil and family justice makes over 400 recommendations

Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Sir Declan Morgan
Sir Declan Morgan

The judge-led review of Northern Ireland’s civil and family justice systems has produced two reports with over 400 recommendations for “transformative change”.

The reports were launched by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Sir Declan Morgan, and the most senior Court of Appeal judge, Lord Justice Gillen, this afternoon.

Lord Justice Gillen said: “The review has brought greater coherence and cohesion to discussions on these areas of justice and has drawn many strands together, through an inclusive process.

“I urge those tasked with the consideration and, it is to be hoped, implementation of the review’s findings to continue in this vein by working collaboratively together and taking on board the views of a wide and diverse array of stakeholders.”

Lord Justice Gillen also welcomed the Lord Chief Justice’s announcement of the creation of a shadow Family Justice Board and a shadow Civil Justice Council.

Lord Justice Gillen said: “I am delighted that the Lord Chief Justice has today announced that these new bodies are to be established in shadow form in the very near future.

“I should also like to echo his call for the establishment of a Non-Ministerial Department, through the re-constitution of the Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service, so that this jurisdiction is enabled to reap the benefits of a model which has been shown to work extremely effectively elsewhere.”

The Lord Chief Justice paid tribute to Lord Justice Gillen for the personal leadership he has shown over the past two years in his role as chairman of the review.

He said: “The review reports will leave a lasting and very fitting legacy from a judge who, I know, cares deeply and passionately about delivering the highest standards of justice while protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”

Ian Huddleston
Ian Huddleston

Ian Huddleston, president of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, told Irish Legal News: “The Law Society of Northern Ireland welcomes the publication of the reports on the major review of civil and family justice and the creation of a shadow Family Justice Board and shadow Civil Justice Council.

“The Society acknowledges the considerable work which has been undertaken on these important issues by the Lord Chief Justice and by Lord Justice Gillen in conjunction with the profession.

“The recommendations outlined in the report and the creation of a shadow Family Justice Board and shadow Civil Justice Council will undoubtedly redefine Civil and family justice in Northern Ireland for the foreseeable future.”