Ministers want ban on abusers questioning victims in family court
The justice minister, Sir Oliver Heald, has asked Parliament to introduce legislation that will ban the cross-examination of victims of domestic abuse by perpetrators in family law courts.
Sir Oliver told the Commons that the time scale for introducing the change would depend on how long it took the Ministry of Justice to complete the fast-track work which was now being conducted, according to an article in The Guardian. “The lord chancellor has requested urgent advice. It is illegal in the criminal courts, and I am determined to see it banned in the civil family courts too,” Sir Oliver told MPs.
The Guardian has previously highlighted evidence based on interviews with participants, lawyers and court officials that revealed how family court procedures allowed men with criminal convictions for abusing their former partners directly to question them.
The president of the family court division, Sir James Munby, has been outspoken in his support for a ban on direct cross-examination.