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Children and Families Bill introduced in the Queen’s Speech

A new Children and Families Bill has been announced in the Queen’s Speech of May 9th. The Bill will implement plans to introduce more flexible parental leave following an independent report in May 2011 that recommended that the right to request flexible working be extended to those with parental responsibility for children up to the age of 16.

The development of the Children and Families Bill will also introduce legislation to ensure children have a relationship with both their parents after family separation, where that is safe and in the child’s best interests. There will also be a six month deadline to complete care cases if families break up. The Bill also introduces changes to the rules on adoption to make race considerations less important than finding a child a permanent home quickly.

Other plans unveiled as part of the Queen’s Speech include measure in the Crime and Courts Bill to create a single county court system and a single family court for England and Wales. Also announced as part of this Bill are plans to allow filming and broadcasting from law courts. Broadcasting will be introduced initially at the Court of Appeal, where filming will be permitted of opening and closing legal arguments as well as the judgments handed down.