I am fascinated by the Nazis. Can’t help it. Serial killers too. The reason is this. I do not understand how one human being can treat another human being in this way. Slavery falls into this category too.
I mention this because I am really trying my best to understand judges. It seems to be as difficult as trying to understand Nazis or slave-owners. Maybe trying to understand is just a fool’s errand.
Yes, it’s easy to say that judges are out-of-touch, unenlightened, cowardly and so on (especially as it’s true), but there is one thing I really struggle with. If it is obvious that judges are being unjust (and you only have to read the case law or read our survey results), why do they do it? Why is it that we leave the Court of Appeal, time after time, as just another ‘tearful and wholly-deserving’ parent (after eons of litigation)? Why, in essence are judges just so bloody useless? What’s in it for them?
I have offered some possible explanations here.
But another occurs. It’s a ‘psychologistic’ point – that is, it’s about judges as human beings. What motivates them? Sure, it could be laziness, boredom or cowardice, and I abandon none of those arguments. But maybe it’s something altogether more sinister.
How was slavery and the Holocaust possible? These horrors happened (amongst other reasons) because the Nazis and the slave-owners viewed their victims as ‘other’, as ‘vermin’ as non-human. Could it be that our judges see us in the same way? Now, if it seems a bit much to compare judges to slavers or Nazis, consider the possibility (at least) that they see us and our kids as just more cannon-fodder to feed the ‘machine’. Not only must we pay our taxes to keep them in their positions of power and authority, we must pay again with inflated lawyers’ fees and court costs (which we never get back, even if we win our case which, of course, is unlikely), as we beg and plead with complete strangers to spend just a little time with our own children. And that’s just the short-term financial cost. Sarah Squires discusses the longer-term financial costs here. And then there’s the psychological and emotional costs to both us and our kids…
It must be, surely it can only be, that judges think they are doing the right thing in keeping one parent away from the child. And how can that be, given that most alienated parents have done absolutely nothing wrong at all. So, they rationalise. And their rationalisations invariably amount to something like I was told at the beginning of my case, by District Judge Stewart at Southampton. He said to me at the start of the case (and this is a word-for-word quote) “I might well agree with you about everything, and still do nothing”.
Three years later I understood that what he meant was “I do agree with you about everything. Of course. I see and hear this all the time. But I won’t do anything, because I never do. So, save yourself three years of heartbreak, probably more, and a ton of cash, and just go home and accept your fate.”
And all of this happens ‘in the best interests’ of our kids…
I wonder how many judges and social workers would commit suicide (like some of the parents we read about on these forums) if they were deprived of their children for weeks, months, years, or for ever? If I am right, the answer is probably none. After all, they never see their kids anyway – they’re at boarding school – a great place to learn emotional numbness, and deliver the next crop of robo-judges. And so it goes on…