The practitioner's 'Bible' on all aspects of public and private child law
Sarah Forster, Garden Court Chambers
I have always felt it an unexpected privilege in my career to have been a children's lawyer at the time of the consultation and implementation of the Children Act 1989. I was Chair of the Solicitors Family Law Association's Children Committee (now Resolution) at the time of a flurry of green covered consultation papers emerged to which responses needed to be prepared. The Act is a remarkable piece of legislation, moulded over time as family circumstances developed since 1991. That the primary legislation could remain sound with that flexibility is a testament to its value. Hershman & McFarlane was first published in October 1991 – the month and year of implementation. In the many years since it has been, for me, an invaluable tool, pulling together not only the legislation but a consideration of the cases in which it has been considered. Of course the now multi volume textbook it has become covers so much more than the Children Act. It reaches into the emerging field of surrogacy, the changing nature of adoption, the challenges of the application of the Human Rights Act and European legislation and the increasing consideration of international families and their movement which is increasingly common.
In an age when access to instant information via the internet may give you the relevant section of any piece of legislation, it is texts like Hershman & McFarlane which will give a busy practitioner a pragmatic but thoughtful and reflective insight into the current judicial interpretation and policy considerations of the relevant legislation. This should not be surprising bearing in mind the authors and editors of the book . David Hershman's early death in 2004 could have led to the death of the book; however, its quality has remained as high as ever under the responsibility of Andrew McFarlane QC ,Lord Justice of Appeal, with the able assistance of his experienced editors. For a practitioner, this book has been and remains the equivalent of having the best legal brains available at your fingertips. For the younger practitioner, raised on the internet, the book is available on line and should be a first port of call. It is updated regularly; it is an invaluable resource and I endorse it without reservation. It has been a good friend to me for 25 years.
Peggy Ray, Winner Cornwell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Family Law, Goodman Ray Solicitors