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Siblings, contact and the law: an overlooked relationship?

Researchers: Daniel Monk | Dr Jan Macvarish

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

The primary aim of the project is to fill a knowledge gap and enhance engagement with key stakeholders working in family justice about contact between siblings in public law proceedings, an issue that affects an increasing number of vulnerable children. By identifying the impact of the shifting legal framework and practitioner and expert assumptions about siblings underpinning current legal decision-making, it aims to provide a firm foundation for developing new materials to guide policy, and promote reflexive practice. And in establishing a new research agenda in law about an overlooked issue, it will provide a firm foundation for identifying further questions for research and policy reform.

The research will involve a mapping review of the law, cases and socio-legal research about child siblings and contact and interviews with members of the judiciary, legal practitioners and guardians. Guided by a Young People’s Participation Group the study will at all stages involve and be informed by the views and perspectives of young people.

Latest on this project


  • Daniel Monk
    Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr Jan Macvarish

  • Ash Patel
    Programme Head, Justice
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Justice
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.