The news last week that specialist drug and alcohol courts are to be extended to more areas - including Exeter and West Yorkshire - has been welcomed.

The specialist court is widely recognised for its constructive approach and has had broad success so far. This is demonstrated by a survey (conducted by a research team at Brunel University and funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Home Office) which found that of 90 families who went through the specialist court, 40% of mothers and 25% of fathers stopped substance misuse compared with 25% of mothers and 5% of fathers who went through ordinary care proceedings.

These statistics are a testament to the work the specialist courts undertake on a daily basis.