The government has announced that children will be given a greater voice in the family justice system so they can they can express their opinions about disputes that affect their lives.
Ministers say children as young as 10 will be able to make their views known to the judge dealing with their case.
It follows a campaign by the Family Justice Young People’s Board, which believes that it is wrong for decisions to be made that will affect young people’s futures without them having a say themselves.
The Ministry of Justice will work closely with the Children and Family Courts Advisory and Support Service and Family Court judges to implement the change, which will be made as soon as practically possible.
The government also plans to help children find an appropriate mediator for cases that affect them.
Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said: “Children and young people must by law have their views heard before decisions are made about their future, and where decisions are made that will impact them. At the moment, it is still too often that their views are not heard.
“Our commitment to giving children the chance to speak to a judge and make clear their views means children will not only be seen in family courts but they will have their own voice heard. This will put them firmly at the heart of the Family Justice System.”