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Early Interventions Project

We call for the immediate introduction of the Early Interventions Pilot Project, to replace the failed and discredited Family Resolutions Project. This is a template-based model of contact based on a system implemented in Florida. This Labour government tried to implement it, but failed to understand it themselves and made such a hash of it that they ended up opposing their own project!

What is the Early Interventions Project?
The Early Interventions project is the blueprint for a new model Family Court system. It is a major reform meeting the legitimate expectations of children and parents. The Early Interventions project has strong across-the-board-support: from the judiciary, senior lawyers, eminent child development experts, parenting groups and politicians.

The Early Interventions reforms were approved in October 2003 by the DCA Minister, Lord Filkin, on behalf of Government. The Early Interventions package of reforms was announced in the 2004 Green Paper Parental Separation as the Government’s flagship strategy.

But nothing happened.

So the Early Interventions reforms – which everyone wants – which have been approved – and which would resolve the ‘family law problem’ – are gathering dust – at the same time as the authorities are scratching their heads, wondering how to solve the problems in family law.

The answer is easy: reinstate Early Interventions.


Under Early Interventions, the Courts take the view that there should be reasonable contact unless there is a ‘good reason’ to the contrary. This reverses the way the courts currently work:

The Existing System

The current legal process provides for an extended course of litigation, commencing after the first Directions Appointment, to see if contact should – perhaps – be gradually increased.

Typically, the Court will not consider raising contact above the low level which triggered the issue of proceedings – until the first substantive hearing, many months later. The resultant litigation, which may continue for years, is on the basis that almost all contact can be stopped for almost no reason. This concept provides inexhaustible ammunition for rolling litigation.

The existing system is a one-parent model of family justice.

The Proposed Early Interventions System is geared to the reinstatement (or initiation) of reasonable contact before the first Directions Appointment.

The Early Interventions legal system is ‘front-loaded’. Parents are informed of the proper outcome for the main categories of dispute from the moment that they first approach their lawyers. The probable result of the case – reasonable contact in the absence of good reason to the contrary – is made clear to parents before the litigation starts. This ‘foreknowledge of outcomes’ provides a powerful lever to encourage early agreement, pre-court, on a proper schedule of contact.

Early Interventions is a two-parent model of family justice.

The Early Interventions Project is the brain-child of Oliver Cyriax, a retired solicitor who provides legal advice for parents involved in contact litigation.

It is Equal Parenting Alliance policy that the Early Interventions Project should be adopted as a pilot project immediately.

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