Former President of the Family Division Sir James Munby has said that plans to allow children the right to speak to judges overseeing family cases that involved them had been shelved because “in plain English, it would all cost too much”.
Munby went on to say that “detailed proposals” to implement that right had been drawn up, “but nothing can come into effect without the approval of the minister”.
The revelation comes after this site made a Freedom of Information request asking the government about its promise to give children the right to discuss their wishes and feelings with judges working on child welfare cases.
The request was part of a Researching Reform campaign to establish a legal right for children to have access to their judges in family cases and crucially, to be able to ask any question they wished, as well as share their feelings on the case.
In response to our campaign Sir James Munby who was then President of the Family Division reminded the government that children who wanted to discuss their wishes and feelings with judges should be able to do so.
The Researching Reform campaign to implement children’s right to speak to judges was then picked up by the BBC who interviewed us on the background to the government’s pledge and the reasons behind the failure to implement the right.
Munby made the comments about children’s voices inside the family courts to the BBC this week.
- RR For Lexis Nexis: Children Have No Right To Speak To Judges
- Top Judge: Law Has Trouble Viewing Children As Real People
- Researching Reform Freedom Of Information Request on Children’s Right to Speak to Judges
Ian Josephs said:
What utter rubbish to be told that it would “cost too much” to allow children of 10 years and over to testify in the family courts .In fact it would cost nothing at all if parents were allowed to call their children as witnesses whether in care or not !
Children have a legal right to be heard usually circumvented by completely unsubstantiated reports from social workers or Cafcass that the children in care do not wish to come to court or see their parents !
Anyone involved in court proceedings should be free to call any relevant witnesses they like including experts and of course their own children aged 10 or more.
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I thought the same. I couldn’t work out why there would be a cost involved at all.
It does stop the truth coming out though doesn’t it?
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Dr. Manhattan. said:
Thats exactly whats its all about, Suppressing the Truth.
Social workers and their management Criminals love the idea of keeping Childen gagged while their parents are being destroyed in Court.
This has the potential to play out like the Frankenstein Monster. the people will want their vengeance for the carnage it caused.
Shocking! Four dead. And THOUSANDS of children existing in the living hell of unsupervised and extended enforced contact with an abusive parent. Think about those thousands. Most suffering in enforced silence with their internalised fear, dread, anxiety and PTSD symptoms. And think of those children who are so desperately damaged by the ongoing experience of contact that they even end up using self harm as their coping strategy. How many of these children end up sectioned in mental health facilities? How many end up involved in crime? How many end up using drugs as self medication? Think of how those damaged children, our damaged children have/are growing up into damaged and suffering adults. How many of these abused children end up as abusers themselves becasue fo their traumas? You can leave the experience of abuse, but the experience of abuse never leaves you – it is a life long sore in your pysche. Think of the thousands of children stuck everyday in this living hell of a nightmare – a court induced and enforced nightmare of ongoing emotional/psychological/physical abuse – and all in the name of their ‘protection’? And all in the name of protecting them from ‘damaging’ publicity? What is it going to take? How much of an epidemic of child mental health issues and crisises will it takes? How many deaths of how many children and how often? And a sudden death at the hands of an abusive parent or a slow lingering lifelong death by abuse induced PTSD? #hearthechildrensvoices
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Catherine Mills said:
Just follow the money and not the care of children.
Damaged children = damaged adults = money.
Then there is the looshing from the pain and suffering of these children.
Children in care are 7 times more likely to be abused, and yet there are more children in state “Care” than ever before.
How much time is wasted during court proceedings by talking adults who were not present during abuse etc.
Children would clear up all the truth in about 15 mins- is that too much to ask for a child?
The main point is though- Will judges listen?
In our case children were not listened to and abuser walked free, leaving 2 damaged young adults dealing with the consequences of not being listened to.
So so sorry Catherine 😦 hugs xx
Lord Mumby should be listened to, ithe only thing the courts, judges, social services, caffcass & anybody else that is concerned with family law is interested in is MONEY they could NOT CARE LESS ABOUT OUR PRECIOUS CHILDREN’s RIGHTS FOR A SAFE HAPPY CHILDHOOD &. LIFE. Someone needs to help these children it’s almost like the courts & judges are run by the nazis party.
Recycling the same old fudge. Sir Mark Potter was the last judge silly enough to think the Holy Grail of knowing what children really really want would be for them to talk to a judge who is clinically and forensically untrained, has no idea about child development, and done no in-depth attachment training so does not understand the strategies abused or neglected children are forced to adopt when interacting with professionals. Rosemary Hunter’s research in Australia showed children talking to judges does not elicit their wishes and feelings but enables judges to express their own perspectives and pretend to the outside world that the UNCRC mandate i s honored. That Munby advocates for this previosly failed, retrograde step just shows the judiciary’s distance from good practice and lack of capacity to evolve.
Dr. Manhattan. said:
LA’s Silence of the Lambs. what bigger scandal can you get.
the Hammer must come down on these Criminals and sooner rather than later.
it never was the Elephant in the room but rather the Frankenstein Monster in the room yet nobody in Govt has taken action on it. the time has come to hold those responsible to account.
There is no voice of the child. There never was & there won’t be in the future.
Just because they said the voice of the child existed, didn’t mean it did in reality.
How many children in care were told they could see an Independent Advocate?
How many children told social workers what they wanted and was listened to and acted upon? What the child really wanted, not what the social worker wanted to manipulate the family.
How many parents wanted their children to speak to the Judge but it never happened?
During a SGO I asked the first Judge to speak to my granddaughter with regards Contact that was stopped after an Assessment by a so called Independent Social Worker who works for the same Local Authority as all the others involved. The Judge agreed, she “would get to the bottom of this” but it never happened. She also gave permission for the family to have any paperwork connected with Contact & themselves but social workers stated nothing existed other than the few LAC reports presented. The very trigger that stopped Contact, the Assessment wasn’t forthcoming. So yes the social workers lied & the second Judge colluded with them.
The second Judge, didn’t even bother to listen to any family member in court, he liked the sound of his own voice as he bellowed a lot during proceedings. He was as dismissive of us as I am to him now. Should be struck off as a Family Court Judge. However he was popular with the Local Authority Solicitor.
The third Judge, was to finalise & wind up proceedings. Nice man on the surface but still it’s strange how a Judge can’t look you in the eye!
3 Judges! No wonder the Family Court is in very expensive chaos!
All paperwork should have been given in advance to the family & most of all the child should be able to speak to the Judge directly & state what their true feelings are.
It should be noted the local authority was very disparaging of my request for my granddaughter to speak to the Judge. This was not the first time that this was cited in court!
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Dr. Manhattan. said:
“How many children in care were told they could see an Independent Advocate?
How many children told social workers what they wanted and was listened to and acted upon? What the child really wanted, not what the social worker wanted to manipulate the family.”
Well said Dana and agree Children are not getting access to an Independent Advocate because they are not being asked if they would like to have one and are effectively being kept silent by social workers. even when complaints are raised they are brushed under the carpet to protect staff. and they say its in the best interests of the Child.
I dont think so!.
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