UK Family Law Reform

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It is clear on brief reflection that the children's act has been and must have been, applied in reverse of it's stated intention.

1. "Parliament has laid down in the Children Act how Courts are to deal with each individual case involving a child"

UNTRUE/MISLEADING: in contact cases, the Act says that parents can apply to see their children. Beyond that, and other than the vaguest of welfare checklists, the Act says nothing whatever about how the application is to be assessed in individual cases or in categories of case

2."The welfare of the child must be the Court's prime consideration"

UNTRUE / MISLEADING: no consideration has been given to what the welfare of the child is in relation to contact applications. Case outcomes vary according to which of two mutually-exclusive presumptions is adopted; in that the Courts have declined to affirm that a good reason need be put forward to deny all or all material contact (and hence do not recognise the presumption of reasonable contact) the Courts opt for a model whereby a child can be deprived of all material contact for no material reason. This notion tallies with widely-held notions of detriment

3."A statutory welfare checklist is set out in the Act and must be applied in every case."

MISLEADING: The welfare checklist makes no mention of the only issue at hand: should the child have reasonable contact with the non-resident parent? The provisions of the checklist are unilluminating; judges should, for instance, consider the age and sex of the children. Beyond establishing that the children have an age and sex typical for children of that age and sex, this leaves the Courts none the wiser. And so on.

4. "In every case the Judge hears oral and written evidence, which often includes independent expert evidence provided by a welfare officer or social worker"

UNTRUE: It is untrue to characterise the evidence submitted by welfare officers as 'expert'. It is well known, and officially acknowledged, that officers have no training on their primary role, viz, what sort of recommendation to make to the Court in what sort of circumstances

It is , in addition, misleading to term the assertions admitted to family proceedings as 'evidence'. Courts proceed on hearsay and quite largely on fantasy; perjury, through being condoned, is encouraged.

5. "The Judge then has to give a reasoned Judgement"

UNTRUE: the Family Division espouses the principle that 'every case is different'. It follows that any result can flow from any facts, and that any penalty - no matter how draconian - can be imposed for any offence, no matter how trivial - irrespective of whether it happened (see 4 above). A process where anything can be justified by anything else is inimical to reason; it is, through the proportionality principle implicit in the Human Rights Act, illicit.

6. "The Judge then has to give a reasoned Judgement setting out:

- the facts that he or she finds proved
- how the welfare tests have been applied
- why the Court is making that particular order "

UNTRUE/MISLEADING ( see 3, 4 and 5 above)

7. "All such Judgements are open to appeal by a dissatisfied party"

UNTRUE: By virtue of G v G almost no such decisions are appealable.

The rule in G v G (1985) holds that contact cases are appealable only if the judge exceeded his discretion or is wrong in law. But, in contact cases (with very rare exceptions) a judge cannot exceed his discretion and there is no law. Almost all appeals must fail; hence the preliminary hurdle of Leave to Appeal, which almost all applications fail for the same reason

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