Robust Judgements

The chief problem with PA cases today is the marked absence of robust judgements.  If judges would simply judge, and move cases along with speed, most of the injustices we and our children suffer would fall away.

I have, possibly unfairly, highlighted the failure of County Court Judges in particular to enforce their own orders and to follow precedent. 

But there are robust county court judges – witness Recorder Keehan in TB vs DB [EWHC 2275 (Fam), HH Judge Lochrane in W vs G [2015] EW misc B47 (CC)and HH Judge Gordon-Saker in Re B [2017] EWFC B24 (Judgement 22-3-17) (a useful recent case).  And take a look at this from HH Judge Stephen Wildblood

But, as a group, no judges enforce court orders (well, in 1.2% of cases).

Court of Appeal decisions tend to be better, but the CA tend simply to ‘bat’ the case back to the trial judge, or possibly to a different judge.  All of this causes delay, and we know that delay hurts our cause and is expressly frowned upon in the Act (S1(2)). I am given to wonder whether senior judges are better judges or is the reality simply that senior judges know that their decisions will be published and scrutinised?

The ‘system’ is broken.  It is slow.  It is capricious. It is expensive.  There is no or little guidance for Litigants in Person.

There are several ways to tackle this.  First is to appeal all bad decisions.  Next, we can and should adopt reforms suggested by Suella Braverman.  Third, we need a new, robust and consistent approach that punishes recalcitrant APs, rather than rewarding and enabling them.  Then, reform is needed to make PA a criminal offence and to make PA a tort (civil wrong, like defamation or negligence).  We need to do something about CAFCASS.  And I suggest investigating the possibility of a class action under Article 8 of the ECHR to rectify the injustices meted out by this broken, flabby, unresponsive system supported by ignorant and ill-trained CAFCASS officers.

We must learn from our mistakes NOW.

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