All-Party group

The process of forming this all-party group in the UK parliament was initiated in December 2022. It was registered in April 2023.

What is an APPG?

“All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.”

(Note: The APPG is entirely separate from the Coalition on this website. It will hear it’s own evidence, make its own decisions, write it’s own reports etc.)

APPG on Family Separation

Remit

“To promote education and changes to the law and practice relating to separating parents and the welfare of their children which would:

  • protect children from the stresses and trauma of their parents’ separation
  • maintain healthy relationships
  • achieve more agreement outside the family court system
  • reduce delay and financial cost

Chair and Officers

Chair: Henry Smith MP. Officers: Baroness Butler-Sloss; Baroness Blower; Lord Morrow; Philip Davies MP.

Mailing list

See the current mailing list here: Total 36: 13 MPs, 23 Peers

Activities of the APPG

Create and distribute briefings

In progress. Due to the secrecy in the Family Court process, parliamentarians receive little information about the problems with the process. These briefings will aim to improve this information-imbalance. View briefings here.

Task 1:  Early resolution consultation

Completed: To bring together a range of experts in the field of family separation with a view to making a submission to the consultation ‘Supporting earlier resolution of private family law arrangements’. (deadline 15 June 2023). The APPG did not make a submission of it’s own, but we convened a group of experts to advise on how to respond. This advise was distributed to Advisory Panel members and others to help them with their response.

Inquiry 1:  Separating families – the options

Scheduled for autumn 2023. ‘What arrangements are needed so that separating parents with children are offered services to help them resolve their problems without going to Family Court?’

This is a wider inquiry into all the options for enhancing the conditions for out-of-court approaches, including parental education, family support and interventions, private resolution, arbitration as well as mediation.

Approach

The APPG will invite a range of evidence from both those professionals expert in the process, those with experience of other jurisdictions and from parents who have used the service.  We will:

  • clarify the problem
  • create an explanation
  • propose changes to judicial practice and law (if necessary)
  • promote those changes as appropriate

Preliminary questions

  1. What safe ways are there to divert separating couples from court to alternative services which help them come to agreement?
  2. Are there ways to reduce the length and cost of proceedings while maintaining the quality of the process?
  3. Is it possible to maintain safe contact with both parents from the start of proceedings to maintain the bond?
  4. Are the risks of harm to the child being exaggerated?
  5. Is the system biased against the non-resident parent?
  6. Is the way the court process is funded providing financial incentives which drive the parties apart and prolong the proceedings?
  7. Are terms such as ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ adding to polarisation?
  8. Can we enable anonymised research to measure the effectiveness of the system?