Data Access & Compliance Unit
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
6 February 2017
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request – 109623
Thank you for your request dated 12 January in which you asked for the following
information from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ): In 2014, the government pledged to make sure that children as young as ten involved
in Family Court proceedings could have access to judges in order to share their
wishes and feelings about their case.
How was this pledge implemented in practice (policy documents/judicial
guidelines/practice directions etc)?
How many judges or courts were contacted/ informed about this policy
Since 2014, how many children used this policy and spoke to a judge about
their wishes and feelings?
Where children spoke to judges, how were their wishes and feelings recorded?
Your request has been handled under the FOIA.
The MoJ does not hold any information which is within scope of your request. This is
because the policy in relation to children aged 10 years and over was one that was
announced by the Coalition Government but was not implemented during the administration.
You may however find it helpful to review the following links:
The speech given by former minister for justice and civil liberties, Simon Hughes, at the
Voice of the Child Conference in 2014:
The final report of the Vulnerable Witnesses and Children Working Group, which made
recommendations in relation to the involvement of children in family proceedings:
Family Procedure Rule Committee minutes, where progress on the issue has been
The FOIA does not oblige a public authority to create information to answer a request if the
requested information is not held. The duty is to only provide the recorded information held.
If you are not satisfied with this response you have the right to request an internal review by
responding in writing to one of the addresses below within two months of the date of this
Data Access and Compliance Unit, Ministry of Justice, 10.38, 102 Petty France, London,
You do have the right to ask the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to investigate any
aspect of your complaint. However, please note that the ICO is likely to expect internal
complaints procedures to have been exhausted before beginning their investigation.
Family Justice Policy Division