Hello and welcome to this week’s family law news roundup with John Bolch and Researching Reform. From the latest news on co-habitants’ rights, to what our family court judges are getting up to, tune in below for three minutes of hot-off-the-press action. Oh, and listen to John get horribly embarrassed as we wish him a very loud happy birthday, on this is his special day!
It is Monday so it is only right that we make a peace offering to the Gods of Labour (no, not that lot), in the hope that the week will be fine and the sun will continue to shine….. it would seem that our series really does have an effect on the weather (except for all those times it didn’t)….
So, the one and only Sir Paul Coleridge, a high court judge in the family courts, is starting his campaign to ‘fight the scourge of divorce’ and try to persuade people to stay married. But our question this week is not about whether this judge should have focused on the scourge of conflict rather than divorce, which is present in marriages as well as divorces, or whether this judge understands the highly delicate tightrope he is walking. No, that would be too easy!
Instead our question this week is, should judges who are so overtly against a legal right, in this case a ratified mechanism allowing people to separate, be allowed to serve as impartial judges in a democratic court?
Possible answer: No human being is ever totally impartial, but there must be a threshold – just as registrars who refuse to marry gay men and women should not be allowed to work as registrars (after all, it is a legal right for such men and women to have a civil ceremony), judges who feel divorce is ‘wrong’ and actively campaign against it, should not be allowed to work in our courts, as their view will ultimately negatively colour the way they see the spouses that come before them.