Having taken a look at the supporters and founding members listed on the website of the Marriage Foundation, (which we did post chatting with a lovely lady lawyer called Suzy on Twitter), it astounded us to see an almost never-ending list of family court judges, who also appear to have jumped on to the lobbying band wagon.
Quite whether these founding members knew the ramifications of such a move in the most political sense or whether they simply wished to show some support for a fellow colleague or superior is not clear from the list alone, but it made us wonder what may have been sent to the Foundation and by whom in their “Send us 50 words section”, the contents of which they don’t publish on the site, another cause for concern where lack of transparency tends to arouse suspicion.
It also begs the question – if these judges are prepared to sign up to a Foundation like this, are their convictions also compromising their ability to judge impartially?Whilst we have no desire to go on a witch hunt, we feel this is an important question, one which should leave room for a debate on how to address bias and partiality in the system. One way we feel would be helpful, would be to have a directory of all judges and their perspectives on every family law issue – very much like the parliamentary website which allows you to see what every MP votes on and how he or she votes on important issues.
Following on from the concerns we have about whether this Foundation is really a charity or just lobbyists dressed up as lamb, it is also clear that the Foundation has been seeking the assistance of PR mavens – everything from their website to their Facebook page screams social media, a concerted effort to spread the word to the young. If only our judges saw fit to reach out to the public using technology to actually improve the family courts.
Sir Paul Coleridge and his Foundation may now be under review, but he is not alone. The lack of professionalism in itself which has seen some of our most senior judges turn lobbyists, needs to be examined.