Friday, 3 December 2010

Speech by Coleridge J - "Let's hear it for the child ...."

In late November, Mr Justice Coleridge addressed the Association of Lawyers for Children at their 21st Annual Conference.  His speech may be read here and Coleridge J stated that he was expressing his own views though he added that some other judges agreed with him.  It is not the first time that Coleridge J has been outspoken about the effects of family breakdown - see BBC 5th April 2008.   He expressed views about maintaining the authority of the family courts; about "suspended residence orders" which he "invented" and which have since received Court of Appeal approval; and about the need to enforce court orders which he illustrated by talking about contact disputes between parents.

On the enforcement of contact orders see Re L-W (children) [2010] EWCA Civ 1253 - judgment of Munby LJ.   The final words of Sedley LJ are pertinent - "The law does its best in the absence of other means, and modern legislation has done what it can to make the law's own means practical and fair; but the law is not omnicompetent, perhaps most of all when, equipped only with its received or inherent powers, it is called on to intervene in the subtle and unpredictable business of child care and human relations."

Family Justice Review - see Ministry of Justice

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