Mr Justice Ryder has been appointed as the judge who will oversee the modernisation of the family justice system, but who is he and what are his views on the system?
These were the burning questions that warmed the cockles of our hearts here at Researching Reform this morning and thanks in no small part to Family Lore’s John Bolch, we can answer these questions by cutting and pasting great chunks of John’s website onto our own 😛
Mr Ernest, Nigel Ryder embarked upon his professional life as a merchant banker in 1979 and was called to the Bar in 1981, later becoming a QC in 1997. He went on to serve as a deputy judge of the High Court in 2001 until 2004 and became a judge of the High Court (Family Division) in 2004. Mr Justice Ryder is also currently the presiding judge for the Northern Circuit and was involved in the preparation of the Public Law outline in 2007.
But what does Mr Justice Ryder think about the family justice system? Will he be another closed mind or a cerebral rebel? His biography is certainly encouraging; he cites listening as one of his favourite past times and he is also a co-author of what we understand to be the leading text-book on children in public family law matters, “Clarke Hall and Morrison on Children (ed), Child Care Management Practice (2009)”.
And his views on the family justice system seem refreshingly lucid and honest. In 2008, he went on record saying that the system needed an overhaul, that it was out of touch with society and that he was an advocate of giving judgments in public.
In that same year, Mr Justice Ryder also went on to a deliver a speech at the Conkerton Memorial Lecture, in which he expressed some endearingly controversial views. Amongst them were a desire to see the system become more open to accepting diverse forms of ways of life, an increased flexibility within the system in relation to how it works and a less heavy hand when it comes to state interference. We are falling in love with this judge already.
Here are some of our favourite quotes:
- There should “be a presumption that the child who is Gillick competent in relation to a key issue should be provided with representation or an effective means of exercising their autonomy, for example by making representations to the judge”;
- That there should be “greater emphasis on alternative and more proportionate dispute resolution mechanisms” with “strong ground rules which can best be provided … by codes of practice or guidance”;
- subject to the protection of the vulnerable, “the process and the judgment of the court should be subject to public scrutiny”;
Sometimes, we don’t see the greatest advances coming. Mr Justice Ryder may just be exactly what the system needs to bring it back to life. So, for his spark and his insight and what we can only assume is a forthright quality which is not short of brilliance, Researching Reform awards Judge of the Week to Mr Ryder.
We would also like to give a huge hat tip to John Bolch for the content above – thank you John, you are much adored 🙂
Andreas Moser said:
As a lawyer from outside of the UK, I find it ironic to read about “modernisation of the … justice system” and see a photo of a judge with a wig.
There was more than just a little giggling going on at Researching Reform, post reading your comment. You are absolutely right!
Portia Barrett said:
I totally agree.
In fact it also has to be pointed out that the family law courts are a result of the Inquisition courts. Same energy, same dark clothes, same secrecy, same hearsay/her say.
In fact the system is so draconian that 3 women I know were actually tried as witches in 2005 and 2007.
No broomstick required – they were deemed too strong were women and needed to be taught a lesson for daring to speak the truth.
I am not speaking of witchcraft, in case anyone thinks I am.
Thank you so much for your comments, Portia. They’re greatly appreciated.
Portia Barrett said:
I wish Justice Ryder well in his new role.
The most important change needed is that solicitors stop telling clients not to mention child sexual abuse and domestic violence to the judges, because they will flip and the protective parent will loose custody.
I would love to hear why. The real why?
It makes a mockery of the law, because one is duty bound to report child sexual abuse and domestic violence, yet when one does, one is penalised.
Judges who are not prepared to hear such facts, because sexual abuse and domestic violence should not be judges.
Tiffini Flynn Forslund said:
If this is true and equitable I also agree with this judge’s views – however many justices look great on their county sites and it is a different story in the courtroom. I have met and worked with some great judges however how does the system get the overhaul so badly needed.
Thank you Tiffini; I think you’re right. It is often the case that promising figures fail to deliver, but we won’t judge Mr Ryder just yet!
Phil Thompson said:
if possible could you pass along my Compliments to this Judge.
Tell him that I wish him a LONG period of time as a Judge of the Childrens Courts.
I have grave doubts about how long he will last before the SS find a way to defeat him.
Imagine his first question to SS. What steps through MEDIATION did you take to resolve SS differences with this FAMILY?.
Second question. Why did you seek CONFRONTATION with this Family before MEDIATION ?.
Third question. Are SS telling the TRUTH ?.
Fourth question. If caught committing PERJURY are YOU prepared to go to prison.
A person has only to Google Social Services, CAFCASS and Name and shame a social worker to see what is happening.
Phil Thompson said:
please know that I also consider Judge Ryder to be an “Enlightened” person and I wish him well.
I fear the current head of the family court (sir Nicholas Wall) had become a great source of humor, if only his gaffs did not have have such far reaching ramifications!
In my estimations Sir Nicholas Wall was right up their with prince Philip. The eyebrows were a very clear indication of what was to come….
Unfortunately for sir Nicholas Wall, prince Philip’s gaffs would never destroy our children’s futures. This is why this nation will alway love prince Philip but be disgusted at sir Nicholas Wall.
Mr Ryder, I have a few pointers which may be usefull.
1) you will needs much greater budget.
2) if you are really going to make a difference, be prepared to loose friends, peers and support from the house of lords.
3) expect fewer presents at Christmas.
4) exclude Helen Grant completely! (her troubled upbringing has tainted previous input to the labour and now lib-con administration. She is and will always be a significant part of the current problem).
5) include fathers, grandparents and extended family members as much as possible. (this may sound way too radical…., but do it).
6) Currently there is an assumption that separated mothers are far to fickle and or fragile to sustain a relationship with their kid(s) father(s) after a separation. This is an act that is coached and played daily in family courts.
7) I would not want this job for all the tea in China, simply because I haven’t got the balls. Have you?
8) in law, decisions are made on the balance of evidence. Why is domestic violence an exception and what are the real ramifications when this exception is exploited daily in secret.
9) remember, it is still the general mode that a mother and father is required to conceive a child. Why then rear children at odds? Could the recent riots be a correlation or indication of what is wrong?
10) I have the greatest respect for you already, partly because your eyebrows are normal. Pull this gig of, the nation will benefit and thus regard you with a similar esteem.
Thanking you in advance.
Thank you for your post…. your observation about my eyebrows did make me smile. Thank you for your words of encouragement and may 2012 be a progressive year for Family Law.
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Andrew S said:
Reblogged this on the wheresmydad.org.uk™ charitable organisation.
No problem. Thank you for reading.
Are they 88 thousand children at risk of harm from their parents? Is it necessary for the BBC to show a “Nazi” style propaganda of how well the SS do their jobs? showing only few cases and in fact 5 out of 100 cases which they had to remove children?
This Nazi propaganda is the sick way that United Kingdom treats its citizens.
It is like making a documentary about a postman for delivering leters and parcels. Doing the job he/she gets paid to do.
Like the plumber who fix broken pipes which he gets paid to do it.
What if the postman steals letters? This needs exposure.
What if the plumber takes your money and fails to fix your water pipes? This needs investigation.
and what if the social services steals your child ?
5% of postmen have been convicted for theft.
15% of Home improvement service maintenance professionals have been convicted for theft.
75% of social services cases have failed completely to protect children by either taking children from their homes just for the shake of it, or neglect children in need.
Social workers position within the local authority is nothing more than a dustmans.
The only difference is that the dustman will empty your bins .
So this myth about some high court judge comes to the rescue is a myth born from the same Nazi propaganda that created these BBC series to glorify social workers.
Now not only they are abusing our children. but they steal our money pro porting to pay BBC TV License and use these money for a Nazi style propaganda to advertise social services.
This winter thousands of disable children and old folks are dying because local authorities are saying they have NOT enough money.
But for every child they snatch it costs over million pounds to include court costs solicitors Barristers etc.
Plus costs of judges who comes out to write some manure type of lies that they want the system to change.
The system can change if only the current judicial get sacked. Or tried in the United Nations courts for crimes against humanity.
100 thousand children are crying in strange foster homes asking for their Mummy and Daddy.
Judges give the impression that they get some pleasure of knowing that children are suffering.And we wonder what kind of pleasure is this? where this pleasure leads?
The question is Are the local authorities to blame? Or the judges made a pact?
£100 Million Mr Cameroon spends to send planes to bomb Libya to protect the freedom of Libyans.
£50 billion per year to abuse children in Uk.
I rest my case.
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Pure culture change might help a little .Family court judges should make sure parents’ views are heard as too often they are blocked from speaking by their own lawyers.Judges should give equal weight to evidence from parents ,and that from social workers guardians and experts and never assume that a parent is a liar just because they give a different version of events from the social workers.
Lastly too many judges smile sweetly at the “professionals” and frown at any remarks from parents that might contradict them;especially if parents are litigants in person.Less hostility and a more friendly approach to families in these courts is definitely required,and judges should be less ready to dish out injunctions stopping contact or talking to others about the case.I DOUBT THESE MATTERS WILL EVEN GET CONSIDERED !
Garry Williams said:
It is not the clothes nor the fine drapery that maketh the laws. Nor that execute them in the name of the people. It is the measure of mercy, vision and integirty in passing those laws that maketh the judge
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