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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Call to create family court tour
The Family Law Association said children faced lengthy case delays
Creating a circuit of specialist family courts in Scotland's cities and rural areas could help ease courts' workload, the Family Law Association has said.

The FLA said an overhaul was needed as family law was not getting a fair hearing within the court system.

Currently, only Glasgow Sheriff Court has a family court with dedicated sheriffs who hear family law cases.

The FLA wants sheriffs who have an interest in the field to deal exclusively with family law cases.

The association, which represents more than 300 family law solicitors, said a family law circuit would see experienced sheriffs and judges tour Scotland to hear cases.

The resources being devoted to family cases are completely inadequate
FLA chair Rachel Kelsey

It said problems encountered in family case law included solicitors being unable to get to hearings in court quickly enough, having to wait "unacceptable" periods of time for court documents and inadequate court facilities.

Families could face an uncertain period for cases to be heard and resolved, the association warned.

FLA chair Rachel Kelsey said families deserved a more effective court system.

Court delays

"Family law is not getting the attention it deserves under the current arrangements and we are calling for urgent changes," she said.

"Family cases need to be handled with a degree of sensitivity and speed that the system simply can't offer at the moment. The resources being devoted to family cases are completely inadequate.

"I appeared in court recently in a case involving a baby. An urgent hearing was required and yet this first date that was available was in nearly two weeks. The next available date after that was nearly three weeks away."

The association said a family law circuit would help ease the burden on the courts system and speed up cases.

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04 May 06 |  Scotland
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03 May 06 |  Scotland

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