The Centre is sponsored by The Law School of City, University of London. The Centre’s purpose is to scrutinise existing family law and to facilitate reform where appropriate.
The Centre for Child and Family Law Reform (CCFLR) was set up in the 1990s under the chairmanship of the late Professor Hugh Bevan, Professor of Child Law at the University of Cambridge (and previously Head of the Law Department and Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull).
It was set up as a forum for discussion for practising and academic lawyers, in order to continue the family law work of the law reform society JUSTICE after the latter discontinued that work to concentrate on public law issues.
The CCFLR Committee is comprised of active and retired members of the judiciary (including at present a sitting High Court judge), practitioners – both barristers and solicitors – and a small number of legal academics.
CCFLR and The City Law School
At the time of its foundation the CCFLR became affiliated with The City Law School, then known as the Institute of Law, benefiting from a small annual budget funded by that entity, whose Director at the time (subsequently Dean of the Law School), the late Martin Dockray, had been taught by Professor Bevan.
CCFLR continues to operate under City’s aegis. The CCFLR Committee is currently chaired by HH Michael Horowitz QC and was formerly chaired by HH Judge Donald Cryan, then by James Turner QC (who had also been taught by Professor Bevan).
CCFLR Committee members meet quarterly to discuss the latest developments in the field of child and family law in England and Wales and to consider areas in which legal reform is potentially required, with a view to preparing proposals for the attention of the relevant authorities.
Most recently, the CCFLR made recommendations on the conduct of proceedings concerning low-value financial claims upon divorce in cases where the parties are not legally represented, following fieldwork research in five Family Court centres in the Summer and Autumn of 2018, sponsored by the HEIF-KE Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange Fund.
The CCFLR has also submitted responses to consultations launched by the Law Commission, e.g., on changes to the intestacy rules; the disclosure of prior domestic violence offences to new partners in order to prevent future crimes; the criminalisation of forced marriages; the removal of ‘fault’ from divorce procedures.
The CCFLR response to the Government’s consultation on the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme was quoted by the Home Office in its “Summary of Responses” of March 2012.
The CCFLR is currently examining whether the practice of treating child arrangements and financial/ property issues upon divorce separately ought to be replaced by a combined process, taking account of the experience in other jurisdictions.
The CCFLR has also contributed to the foundation of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA), a not-for-profit-organisation providing an alternative to court litigation for the resolution of family disputes involving financial and child arrangements, and actively participates in IFLA’s governance. The arbitration mechanism put forward by IFLA was unanimously endorsed by the Court of Appeal in the case of Haley v Haley  EWCA Civ 1369.
The CCFLR Committee may be contacted through its Honorary Secretary, Harry Nosworthy, at HN@pb.com or 4 Paper Buildings, Temple, London EC4Y 7EX.