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Sir Nicholas Wall on secret courts

This is where the president of the family division puts his view on the secret court system.

As usual he is focussed on the question of media access. This ignores the fact that there are a number of constraints on accountability that include the constraints on the media being involved.

There is the question of professional standards. As it currently stands the Health Professions Council remain of the view that they should not investigate psychologists who are reported by parties to family court cases without the permission of the judge. That is an unacceptable constraint.

Secondly, there is no academic access to the material as of right. That means that each case operates in its own isolated sphere of reality. Specialists cannot audit the evidence given.

Thirdly, when cases some to the court of appeal there is no publication of the original judgment.

Fourthly, the cases are oppressive for individuals who cannot bring in others beyond a mackenzie friend (and often an MF is refused). I remain of the view that anonymous reporting is best. It is, however, possible to achieve this through a number of routes including parliamentary proceedings.


Jerry said…
For the past Decade the Family Justice System has not been about the protection of Children, it has never come close, it has become a cesspit of cover-up's professional protection and protection for the judges, if only I could report half of what the judges do and say the public would be outraged, if Wall doesn't have the Answers then why is he in a role that allows him to operate the way he does. Oh wait Sir Wall I have an answer for that....
Dear John,

I always loved Jeremy Bentham's principle: "Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial."

In the case of family courts, I would agree that anonymous reporting would be best, for then at least we could establish statistics about whether children were removed right- or wrongfully!...

There is nothing justice should fear to show us if it is justice. Wall's speech in some way explains that family law is not about justice. I appreciate the parallel made between lunatics and parents !!! Yet why the society couldn't supervise the way judges treat lunatics ?

Only those who are on proceedings (lunatics, parents, children) should be allowed to say if they feel uncomfortable to be treated front of the medias and in public. But they are the ones who are first prohibited to tell the world what is done to them.

"Privacy of children" is definitely an arbitrary notion by professionals wanting to get authority on them. And it is frightening that we rely on psychology experts for what is good for children. Psychology is a bubble of soap, interesting but full of nothing. It should be kept an interesting avenue for helping families but cannot be called "evidence" in a court of justice. And as admits a psychologist (George Boree) : "Modern psychology usually relies on reductionism in order to find efficient causes."
Anonymous said…
'There is the question of professional standards. As it currently stands the Health Professions Council remain of the view that they should not investigate psychologists who are reported by parties to family court cases without the permission of the judge'

I think other professions that are currently overseen by the HPC might have something to say about this. No profession should be seen to be singled out for 'special treeatment' .The Health Professions Council will also need to determine how they are going to deal with perjury allegations made against social The obvious solution is to make tapes of court cases available to all.
Bruno said…
The confused and contradictory thinking of Sir Nicholas Wall is clearly exposed in the comments section of the following McKenzie link:

Even some in his own profession have criticised his stance on Relocation law and called for an explanation:

Now that he is retired, perhaps he will have the courtesy to give that explanation. The hundreds of "non-primary" parents whose children were removed overseas between February 2010 and July 2011- of whom I am one - would be very grateful.

Bruno D'Itri

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