[2022] Motion 61 Defending the integrity of the justice system

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from:

Congress views with serious concern the major changes (or current proposals) which are detrimental to the application of natural justice in the parole board system and family courts.

The introduction of the single intervention by the secretary of state for justice in parole board hearings was imposed in July despite all expert advice to the contrary. The impact of this authoritarian and ill-considered policy has meant that highly skilled probation practitioners are now forbidden to make recommendations to the parole board as to the suitability or otherwise of the release of a prisoner into the community. This has resulted in the de-professionalisation of probation practitioners who view this change as a further attack on their integrity.

Moreover, the proposal to allow public access to parole board hearings presents a further risk to practitioners.

Congress condemns both initiatives as politically motivated and cynically populist.

In family courts, proposals are also at an advanced stage to allow media access to private and public law hearings. This threatens to make family court advisers employed by Cafcass the focus of harassment, smear campaigns or trolling by social media.

Congress notes the potential impact of these deeply flawed proposals on families, children and the highly skilled professionals who do their best to provide crucially important and impartial advice to the judiciary.