Hello and welcome to the first Monday of February, though it will not be the last….
A recent case has highlighted yet more concerning behaviour by the judiciary operating inside the family courts. Judge Dodds separated a mother and her 11-year-old son without listening to the boy’s reasons for wanting to live with his mother, using an out of date social worker’s report and passing down the judgment at a hearing that was only intended to be a directions style hearing. Three appeal court judges have condemned Judge Dodds’ ruling, and President of the Family Division Sir James Munby has said of the conduct, “It is unhappily all too apparent that no dispassionate observer of the proceedings could think that justice was done, let alone that it was seen to be done. It was not.”
The judge was found to be dismissive, caustic with professionals and family members and in a clear hurry to end the proceedings.
Maureen Obi-Ezekpazu, a barrister and Head of Family Matters chambers, has reacted to the judgment by asking Law Society Gazette readers whether parents are being trampled inside the family courts, and her fears that this kind of conduct will only increase over time.
Our question to you this morning, then, is not really ours, but Maureen’s – do you agree that parents are being badly treated inside the system?