The latest edition to our Class Legal library is the result of a 'lockdown project' initiated by Zoe Saunders (Barrister and Mediator at St John's Chambers), and in collaboration with contributing author of Dictionary of Financial Remedies, HHJ Edward Hess. Together they have teamed up with experts Piers Pressdee QC (Barrister, 4PB) and Dr Rob George (Barrister, Harcourt Chambers) to bring Dictionary of Private Children Law, a unique reference guide to the key concepts, cases and practice of private children law.
The foreword for this first edition has been written by The Rt Hon Lord Justice Baker.
I am delighted to have been asked to write a short Foreword to the first edition of this excellent new work. Following the success of the Dictionary of Financial Remedies, many of us have been urging Edward Hess to turn his attention to the private law relating to children. Once again, he has assembled a crack team of assistants, all of whom are well known as highly-qualified specialists in this area. Having in the dim and distant past co-written two books with one of these distinguished authors, I can assure readers that every entry has been rigorously checked, including the footnotes.
This volume is not intended to be a substitute for the many practitioner’s books, nor for the compendious sources of materials such as the Family Court Practice. But its style and format make it an invaluable tool for anyone needing a pithy summary of the relevant law. The number of entries illustrates the astonishingly wide range of issues that arise in private children law. On behalf of the readers of this work, I have road tested the dictionary by reference to a random list of topics and have found it to be succinct, clear and informative.
Writing as I do in the middle of the third lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems unlikely that we will all return to court in the near future. When we do, we will find the conveniently-designed dictionary slips easily into our briefcases. Unlike many law books, its light weight will not increase the risk of back injury. And for as long as we continue to endure remote hearings, I confidently expect to see advocates and indeed judges casting a surreptitious glance at the dictionary to refresh their memories of the multitude of legal principles which arise in these cases.
But a volume on private children law in this country needs to address a wider audience than the professionals working in the court system. As is well known, the restrictions on public funding introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 has led to a very significant increase in the number of litigants in person in private children cases. Reading the documents which unrepresented parties file in such cases, it is only too clear how daunting and difficult many of them find the ordeal of coming to terms with the processes of the family court. I hope litigants in person will find this volume to be an accessible and helpful introduction to guide them through the thickets of the legal forest. The dictionary format and clever use of cross-references will be of particular help to the litigant who may initially be bewildered by the sheer volume and complexity of law in this field.
The law relating to children changes rapidly. It is therefore reassuring to know that the authors intend that this work should be updated annually so that everyone can keep up to speed with legal developments. I congratulate Judge Hess and his colleagues on this invaluable addition to the family law library.
The Dictionary of Private Children Law is available to pre-order as a hard copy (A4, paperback) or eBook (delivered via our bespoke eReader) for just £60 (full published price from 1st March is £65).
The book can be purchased as a print and digital bundle for £85 or as part of a bundle with its sister publication, Dictionary of Financial Remedies for £100 (saving you £20).
To be published March 2021 | Free P&P