New Speech from the president of the family division.

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Judicial Arrogance

After an incisive start, when Sir Andrew McFarlane delivered a couple of landmark speeches, he appears to have gone a little quiet. However, his latest offering confirms that he is back in business.

Many of us will have first hand experience of judicial arrogance. At a time when more and more litigants are ‘self represented’ it comes as a shock to be gaslighted by judges in exactly the same way as a coercively controlling partner would have done. The president states:

In judicial circles it is a well-known phenomenon that some lawyers, who had hitherto been entirely amiable and mild-mannered individuals, subtly develop, immediately following their appointment to the Bench, a wholly unattractive arrogance and belief in their own self-importance.

 

In his first few weeks of office he undertook to get around as many of the family courts as he could? Who better to express his empirical findings?

Glacial Courts which are a law unto themselves

He also highlights the fact that despite the fact that the need to avoid delay is also prominently embedded in the Children Act 1989 where s 1(2) states that:
“in any proceedings in which any question with respect to the upbringing of a child arises, the court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay in determining the question is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child”

Time limits were applied to public law because a parent child relationship is frequently severed in these cases. Sadly, it is not uncommon for severance, in the guise of pa, to happen in private law also. However, S1(2) seems to be ritually ignored.

When litigants and lawyers see the statute being ignored it is hardly surprising that family court orders are regarded as optional. The court sets an appalling example.

It does not matter whether you are an expert witness, social worker, lawyer, litigant in person or a parent The rest of the speech contains valuable advise and deserves to be widely read.

Speech by Lord Justice McFarlane: Bond Solon Experts Conference 2018

Many thanks to Kerry for alerting us to this.