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I have been a DDJ for many years and regret the proposed removal of this jurisdiction.
It seems to me that the judiciary is being made to be more and more specialised, and I don't think that's a good thing. How the judicial secretariat is going to cope with arranging suitable District Judges I don't know, they have sufficient difficulty as it is.
The divorce court used to deal with all aspects of a matrimonial breakdown. The divorce itself, the arrangements for the children, and the arrangements for the finances. Now, the divorce is dealt with at one hub (Bury St Edmunds in the South east), the children are dealt with in the Family Court (which may be the lay justices, a District Judge (Magistrates' Court), or the County Court or occasionally, the High Court), and now financial matters will be hived off to a hub somewhere doubtless highly inconvenient for the parties. Nothing will be dealt with as a whole, everything will be piecemeal and confusing and remote from where the parties live. And who has authorised this? One, doubtless important, person. Has it been approved by the Houses of Parliament? It strikes me that we are getting further and further away from the requirements of section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and more and more into Judge and barrister led Law.

As to full time District Judges doing the business, this ain't necessarily so. They spend most of their lives dealing with Care proceedings. A lot of the work is done by DDJs because there would appear to be a policy decision by the MoJ not to appoint sufficient full timers and rely on what in any other profession or business would be called locums.

I doubt it will improve morale in the District Bench, either.

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