A number of parents have won legal cases in Ireland which prevented their children being returned to England and placed in care on the basis that this would lead to adoption.
This case was an interesting one because the children were not actually in care or even subject to a care order, but that care proceedings were "pending". (Viz an application had been made to court.)
The first test in international public family law is one as to which country has jurisdiction. This is based on "habitual residence". It is now clearly the case that if court proceedings have started in England then the habitual residence is accepted as being in England even if the family have moved to Ireland.
The case has also looked at the question as to whether non-Irish citizens have Irish Constitutional Rights, but without resolving the issue in any way.
The judgment is a long and interesting one that is worth reading for anyone interested in this issue. Where it is wrong is that it sees the Irish and English law as being on the same spectrum. I believe in the long term that it will be recognised both that this is not the case and also that the trend in law has been damaging for children. The trend in law actually has been resisted for millennia and exists in the bible (Job 24:9). There is today as there has been in the past a demand for children from adoptive parents. There is a tendency for the system to respond to that demand by providing children from economically or politically weaker families.
If this all happens in secret then it tends to succeed without challenge, but if it is subject to proper public scrutiny then it is resisted.
What is clear about judicial systems and secrecy is that secrecy undermines the rule of law. At time it may be arguable that the secrecy is more important than the rule of law. However, if that is not the case then secrecy is to be avoided.
My advice to parents facing care proceedings is to follow the law. The law does not prevent people from emigrating when there are no proceedings. People considering emigrating to Ireland need to consider the financial issues. Since the financial crisis obtaining benefits in Ireland has been very difficult. Hence it is only those people with adequate resources that can do this.
posted by John Hemming
¶ 9:55 am11 comments
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Florence wins Radio Prize
See the link for the website dealing with Florence Bellone's winning of the reporting prize for reporting on the English Family Courts scandal.
Quoting from the website: Title of the article Great Britain: The Stolen Children Name of media RTBF The Grand Jury distinguished the report for its investigative merit in highlighting a human rights issue occurring in a highly-developed European Member State. The piece was characterised as ‘a technically impressive, investigative report into shocking and relatively unknown human rights violations’.posted by John Hemming
¶ 4:23 pm1 comments
Thursday, December 22, 2011
St Edburgha's Carol Service
I attended St Edburgha'a carol service last Sunday. Robert Jones has produced some good photographs of the event. The music was good, but I don't think it is available on the net.
posted by John Hemming
¶ 8:31 pm3 comments
On the way to the meeting in London (at which she asked a question of Anthony Douglas which was one of the reasons for which Doncaster MDC tried to have her imprisoned) she saw her daughter and went to say hello.
At a time at which the press would not ordinarily be there on Friday she was given 3 years.
Doesn't seem right to me.
It remains that she has not yet managed to appeal the original family court decisions mainly because the solicitors are holding onto the file.
It is also the case that the promised publication of various documents by the authories promised earlier this year has not happened.
I suppose keeping her in jail will make it even harder for her to challenge the original decision.
posted by John Hemming
¶ 12:11 pm19 comments
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Films of Birmingham in the past
There is a youtube channel Idowish12 which includes a lot of films of Birmingham's past.
CTB and Imogen Thomas
The CTB v Imogen Thomas case raises a number of constitutional concerns about the accountability and reliability of secret justice. On 20th May 2011 the Neuberger Committee reported on secret justice clarifying what should happen. These procedures were not followed (in this case) on a number of occasions. On 2nd November 2011 there was a hearing which was not even listed. On 11th November 2011 the press were excluded without explanation. On 25th November 2011 there was a hearing with a decision for which no judgment was given until yesterday. The court should have clearly discharged the original injunction some months ago.
The key issue, however, is that Secret Justice leads to miscarriages of justice. Secret Justice often means No Justice. In this case it is still unclear whether Imogen Thomas would have been able to prove her case had CTB not been named in parliament. What is clear is that the original injunction would have prevented Imogen Thomas’s lawyers from doing necessary research to find evidence. The law prevents me from saying exactly why.
This is the third privacy case which has been recently shown to start with a miscarriage of justice. I am also concerned that many family cases are known to be based upon unreliable evidence. There needs to be a constitutional review on bringing in accountability and controls on court secrecy. What is clear is that the court itself has a conflict of interest in deciding what is and what is not to be made public.
It now includes the following comments from the British Association of Social Workers: Nishra Mansuri, of the British Association of Social Workers, recognised the whistleblower’s comments and said: “It’s a major concern. The cuts are creating so much pressure for social workers that the right decisions are not being taken.
“We’re storing up so many problems, but the odds are against us.”posted by John Hemming
¶ 12:16 pm5 comments
The whistleblower, a father who works for a large authority in the south of England, said: “We’re being pressured to go against what we think is right for families. “Personally, I’ve written reports and been told ‘You are too positive with this family. We’ll never get it to court unless you make it more negative’. “Although it goes against what you feel is right, you feel under an obligation.” He went on: “In order to get a child through to a child protection conference, we’re told to make the situation look bad, and worse than it actually is. “We don’t necessarily make things up but we can change the emphasis.”
He said these reports were used to take children out of a family home and in many cases placed for adoption. “It destroys families, but the newer, younger social workers see this as the norm, they just want to toe the line with their bosses and that’s worrying.” He also raised serious concerns about council-appointed psychologists biased in favour of their paymasters and what he considered nebulous concepts of emotional abuse and “attachment theories”.posted by John Hemming
¶ 8:51 am0 comments
Friday, December 09, 2011
Europe and the Media - Cameron's Veto
A number of journalists have phoned me to ask my view as to the use of the veto. I think Cameron was right to use the veto on changes to the treaties. It is entirely right that the 17 Eurozone countries resolve how to get greater fiscal unity which is essential for the success of the Euro and consequential success of the UK. However, that does not mean that we have to sign up to that. We should not try to stand in their way and prevent them resolving their difficulties. However, it is not surprising that unanimity amongst the 27 EU states is difficult to achieve.
When I tell the media this strangely enough they are not interested in interviewing me. The story they are looking for is "coalition in trouble over veto". I am not surprised at the editorial approach, however.
The party is saying that he did not use a "veto". I suppose a "veto" is technically different to not agreeing something that needs unanimity. However, the effect is the same.
posted by John Hemming
¶ 11:27 am2 comments
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