Oddly enough last night I had another case of someone who was a foreign mother having her children taken for the system whilst she is deported. This is much like the case from which I highlighted a JR decision earlier this year. Mum was deported and the child kept.
The Italian case is one about which more will be heard. Also the one raised with me last night. The USA case is one which has had some attention.
In essence families count for nothing in the modern family court. The "best interests of the child" are "paramount" which means that what the social workers say goes. If a social worker does not say what the management want then the social worker can be fired as had happened. There is no independence in the system and family ties carry no substantial weight.
I did speak to Michael Gove about this on Wednesday. I do not think that he has this as an objective. It is clearly an unintentional consequence of the government policy of the last 12 years or so. It is, however, a real consequence and has to be brought to an end.
Additionally this video raises questions as to whether powers are being used to undermine demonstrations or appropriately. I am not opposed to fracking (we have use fracking for a long long time) However, I don't think child protection procedures should be used to stop people demonstrating. It is entirely possible that there is an appropriate use of powers, but it is also unlikely.
This raises serious concerns about the way in which assessments are done in the UK.
A manager in Birmingham told me that he knew of experienced people who could be employed as social workers in Birmingham, but the government would not allow them because they did not have the right piece of paperwork. We should not be surprised of the existence of problems if only 80% of the staff are in place. Temporary agency staff are not the solution.
The second question is why the English Courts have decided there is an issue when the Swedish Courts have not. They cannot both be right. It is my view that the evidence in the family courts in England is frequently intellectually unreliable and as a consequence the decisions are not well grounded in reality.
This case seems to substantiate my view and give good reasons why the system in England takes the wrong children into care.
Firstly, it is in my view a responsibility of parents who separate to make reasonable efforts to ensure that a good relationship is maintained between both parents and children. There are circumstances under which this is obviously not reasonable (when one of the parents is a real threat to the children). However, this is clearly a responsibility.
However, the objective of maintaining contact between parent and child does not permit the court to behave unlawfully. There are a number of problems with this case. The first is that the court should not ordinarily hear a contempt hearing of its own motion. The second hearing (and the third) should have been held by a different judge to the one who heard it. The second is that legal assistance should have been made available before the grandparents and aunt were locked up on bail.
It raises a question really as to whether effectively a form of collective punishment was being used to encourage the mother to make contact with the court.
I don't take the view that the ends (which I agree with about ensuring contact) justify the means.
The point about this is that there are lots of legal precedents that the judge should not sit in judgment on this case and hence it could be challenged on appeal. How does one do that when one knows neither the name of the mother of her solicitors.
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