Care centres meet with approval

Family lawyers have welcomed the opening of nine new care and family hearing centres.

Eileen Pembridge, chair of the Law Society's family law committee, says waiting times have been growing and travelling has proved a problem in some areas.

The Lord Chancellor's Department decided to increase the number of nominated County Courts after a review last year.

Two new care centres have been opened at Canterbury and Swindon, while family hearing centres have been established at Bath, Dudley, Weymouth, Bedford, Grimsby, Dartford, and King's Lynn.

It is hoped that another centre will open at Pontypridd following the closure of the centre at Llangefni.

The new centres aim to reduce travelling times for parties and to help cut waiting lists.

Tim O'Regan, of the child law committee of the Solicitors Family Law Association, says the advantages are clear. Clients in the King's Lynn area would previously have had to travel to Norwich or Peterborough.