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Professor Judith Masson

The 2024 Baroness Butler-Sloss and FRS Network Annual Family Law Lecture

GW4 Family Regulation and Society Network Annual Lecture 2024

Tuesday 20 February 2024 1730

We are delighted to announce that the 2024 annual lecture is to be given by our eminent academic colleague, Emerita Professor Judith Masson, of the University of Bristol who is also a founder member of our Network. It will be hosted at the University of Bristol Law School and can be joined in person (subject to space) or online.

Professor Masson will explore the challenging issue of What are Family Courts for? The abstract for her lecture, her biography and the joining details are below.

Although the Family Court was only established in 2014, courts making decisions about families have existed for over 100 years. However, what the courts have had the power to do, and how they have exercised that power, has changed markedly, as has the support provided for or needed by court users. This lecture will outline how the work of the family court has changed in the last 50 years, with jurisdictions removed and new ones added, the reasons for these changes and how they were brought about. The lecture will consider the functions society needs the Family Court to carry out in the future, what it should seek to achieve and what this means for judges and for Parliament. Fairness, justice and respect are essential in any family law system but are not the sole preserve of the courts.

Biography of Professor Emerita Judith Masson
Professor Masson is an internationally recognised scholar of child law, with a particular focus on child protection systems. Her ground-breaking research has explored the interaction between law and social work, and between local authorities and courts, using quantitative and qualitative methods, contextual socio-legal analysis and doctrinal assessments. During her career, Prof. Masson has collaborated with a range of policy and other stakeholders, including Parliament, the Family Justice Council, and the Judicial College. Her research has been supported by numerous funding organisations, including the ESRC and Nuffield Foundation who most recently funded the Discharge of Care Orders project which she led. In 2020, in recognition of her very significant contribution to the study, design and operation of child law systems, Prof. Masson was appointed Honorary Queens Counsel (now KC).

You may join the lecture in person or online and please register using the link here. The lecture will begin at 1730 on the 20 February and we very much hope you will be able to join us.

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