Failings in Intractable Contact Cases Continue


When intractable contact dispute cases fail to be resolved there are common reasons, and ones which involve how the cases are managed by the court and professionals involved in proceedings. Some of those cases are salvageable, while for others the long length of proceedings acts as a bar to the court entertaining a different approach.

My criticism isn’t universal and I acknowledge there are experienced and highly capable judges and welfare officers. It’s that very observation which sees me compare what, in case management terms, is the good, the bad and the ugly (one movie we didn’t see this Christmas). Sadly, justice and positive outcomes remain reliant on the quality and experience of the individuals involved, with a lack of process and poor adherence to what process exists exacerbating problems. The appeal system alone is an inadequate means of quality control to identify poor practice and capability.

Rather than intractable contact disputes being complex, these are often cases made complex by poor investigation, inadequate welfare analysis and failures to apply and carry through strategies from an early stage. These are common reasons for failure, and the saddest thing of all is that none of these should come as a surprise. Continue reading Failings in Intractable Contact Cases Continue


New Guidance for Local Courts on Transparency in Family Justice


His Honour Judge Bellamy expresses his views on secrecy in the family courts and the campaign efforts to open proceedings to scrutiny. Within this, he also issues a practice note to the local court in Leicester, setting out considerations for the publishing of judgments.

The main points of that guidance are listed below: Continue reading New Guidance for Local Courts on Transparency in Family Justice


Poles apart: Midlands Non-Molestation and Residence Order data


Last week we announced national statistics for non-molestation orders. Ministry of Justice (MoJ) supplied data indicates an explosion in applications in Birmingham’s County Court and Family Proceedings Court and it’s been the focus of a great deal of conversation. A reasonable question posed was “Would an increase in applications for family cases explain the increase in non-molestation orders being made?”

The simple answer is no. If anything, comparing applications for these two types of order makes the numbers look even more extraordinary.

Continue reading Poles apart: Midlands Non-Molestation and Residence Order data


The Minnock Case – Crime, Punishment and Compassion


The papers and social media are full of discussions on the mother who has abducted her child following residence having been awarded to the father. A number of questions have arisen which we want to comment on.

Before we do, it’s worth noting that we support how the court has acted throughout from what has been said in the press. Matters appear transferred from magistrates to the higher court when contact broke down. Social workers and a psychiatrist involved to carry out an indepth assessment, with the court taking robust action. The expert involved was Dr Mark Berelowitz MB, BCh, MPhil, FRCPsych. Dr Berelowitz is one of the most highly regarded experts in his field. We recommend him. So we don’t believe any additional scrutiny of the court’s decision as to residence is required when the judge followed the recommendations of a man known for his impartiality, ability, fairness and expertise. Continue reading The Minnock Case – Crime, Punishment and Compassion


Gender bias. Should it be a worry for those in court today?


On Monday, I read John Bolch’s blog, where he disagrees with views that the family courts are biased against fathers. I’m going to be somewhat more cautious than John, and continue the exercise delving into why the perception of bias exists, whether there is justification for that belief, and whether other factors are involved which lead people to believe they’ve been treated unfairly. Continue reading Gender bias. Should it be a worry for those in court today?