The Nuffield Foundation has appointed Sir James Munby as Chair of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.
The Nuffield Foundation is establishing the Observatory to support the best possible decisions for children by improving the use of data and research evidence in the family justice system. Sir James, who until recently was President of the Family Division of the High Court, will oversee the Observatory’s development.
Sir James’s first priority as Chair will be to lead an open recruitment process for members of a new governing board to support the creation and development of this important organisation. The Nuffield Foundation is looking for board members from both England and Wales and a diverse range of backgrounds, with an ability and commitment to support the Observatory in its goal of improving outcomes for children and families.
Tim Gardam, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Foundation said:
“We are delighted that Sir James has agreed to Chair the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. As President of the Family Division, Sir James has long been an advocate for making better use of available research evidence, and of addressing the gaps in evidence where research would be invaluable in informing decision-making.
“These themes are fundamental to the Observatory, which aims to support the best possible decisions for children by improving the use of data and research evidence in the family justice system in England and Wales.”
Sir James Munby said:
“The Nuffield Foundation has for many years played, and continues to play, an essential role in supporting research into topics of significance for everyone involved with family justice.
“I am pleased to have been appointed Chair of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, which is one of the most innovative, exciting and important developments for the family justice system in recent years.
“The Nuffield Foundation’s commitment of funding on a particularly generous scale will enable the Observatory to ‘get off the ground’ and to become, as I am sure it will, an established and vital part of the wider family justice system.”
Sir James Munby retired as President of the Family Division of the High Court in England and Wales, a position he was appointed to on 11 January 2013.
Sir James’ previous roles have included Chair of the Law Commission (2009-2012) and Lord Justice of Appeal (2009-2013). He was a judge of the Family Division from 2000-2009.
The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory aims to support the best possible decisions for children by improving the use of data and research evidence in the family justice system in England and Wales. It is being established by the Nuffield Foundation to meet the needs of practitioners who make pivotal decisions in the lives of children and families by:
Working with them to identify priority issues where research evidence may help guide practice.
- Providing reliable summaries of what is, and is not, known from research or administrative data.
- Combining knowledge from research with insights from policy, practice and user experience.
- Working with practitioners, policy makers and organisations representing families and children to develop, update and test guidance and other tools based on that knowledge.
The Nuffield Foundation has appointed a development team to complete the set-up of the Observatory. The development team, led by Professor Karen Broadhurst, is working closely with stakeholders to finalise the Observatory’s initial priorities, prior to it starting its four year pilot phase in Spring 2019.
Last month, the Observatory published thereport, the first ever national study of newborn babies (under one week old) in the family justice system in England.