Speaking at a conference organised by the Family Justice Young People's Board, Simon Hughes announced that the Government would take steps to ensure children over the age of 10 have their views heard in care proceedings and custody cases.
"Children and young people have a legal right to be heard before decisions are made about their own future, and where decisions are being made that will impact on them. Too often that legal right is not being exercised or it is being interpreted to mean others can make a presumption about a child’s view – often for the best of intentions and acting in their interest, but nevertheless the outcome is that the child does not feel that their own distinct voice has been heard. It is my clear intention that where disputes about children are settled in court or through an alternative form of resolving disputes such as mediation, children and young people aged 10 and over will in the future be given the chance to make clear their views, in person or if preferred in an another way, as to what is the best resolution of the family dispute in their interest.”
Read the full speech here