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In September Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced that he would be reviewing the way in which the family courts operate and today the new changes are unveiled and take effect.
The implications of Family Courts are wide and far reaching - they can decide whether children are brought up by their parents or taken into the care of the state.
In an address to parliament Jack Straw said: "It is critical that family courts make the right decisions and the public have confidence they are doing so. A key part of building trust in the system is that people understand how it works.