Readers may recall last year’s Report of the Vulnerable Witnesses & Children Working Group (March 2015) (the “Hayden / Russell Working Group”) which recommended at para 34:

“The need for greater transparency has been a leitmotif of recent modernisation of family justice and in keeping with that approach the [Working Group] recommend that there should be an increase in public access to the family courts so that members of the public, including children and young people can see what is happening.”

We have now seen unpublished early draft of the WG report which actually goes a lot further, and envisages family courts being far more “child centred” than at present, incorporating childcare and play facilities within the courtroom, ideally in the well of the court where supervision by adults would be least inconvenient.

The following is an artist’s impression of how the new child-centric court might look:

Bristol play court 4

 All rights – it was a joke. April Fools!

Thanks to Lucy R for video still of courtroom used in her excellent series of educational videos, Family Court Without a Lawyer. The judge, whose picture is taken from an ancient edition of Vanity Fair, is the famous Victorian family judge Sir James Wilde, later Lord Penzance, who once provided the legal definition of marriage in a landmark case, Hyde v Hyde and Woodmansee (1866) LR 1 PD 130. The soft play area came from the website of a company called First-Play (

This joke post got us a bit of attention on Twitter and hopefully raised our profile a bit.