Sir James Munby: A formidable force for good

This article has been published by Lawyer Monthly. Click here to read it in full.

 

In a time of unprecedented uncertainty and huge shifts in society, passionate, resolute leaders driving positive change for the good of families across the country are more important than ever.

The retirement of the outspoken Sir James Munby as President of the High Court’s Family Division this year starkly highlights this, and as a family law professional and fellow advocate for humanity sitting at the heart of the legal system, I know I’m not alone in saying that he will be missed.

Championing change

Throughout Sir James’ five years’ as president, he has been a refreshing force for good. From championing the vision of a family law system built around the welfare of children and families to highlighting the failings of the government, the care system and problematic practices in the courtroom, he has been an unwavering voice for reform.

He has been at the forefront of advocating transparency in the family court system and has spoken openly and frankly about the “inhumanity” of splitting up elderly couples moving into care homes. Cuts to legal aid also sat at the top of his agenda, directly challenging the government in the face of a family court system at breaking point.

Sir James recently spoke at the 6th annual ‘Voice of the child’ conference to urge the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) to continue the fight to improve our family justice system, addressing the government’s failure to introduce legislation to stop the cross-examination of abuse victims as one of the key ‘deeply depressing’ setbacks that are halting the progress of a more aspirational justice system…

 

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