Saturday June 16, 2012, 13:18
The Court of Appeal case, MK v CK (2011), incorporated a review of English relocation law with a significant shift away from the Poel/Payne principles. This was despite the President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall, stating, just two months earlier, that Payne could only be reviewed by the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal review of Payne law came in the immediate wake of significant campaigning pressure:
Saturday June 23, 2012, 22:30
Our elected Government plans to bolster the legal right of a child to have a meaningful and on-going relationship with both its parents, post separation/divorce. It recognises that family law, as it currently stands, all too often fails to serve a child’s best interests in this extremely important respect.
The Children Act (1989) rightly instructed the judiciary to serve the child’s paramount interests. However, the judiciary has singularly failed to understand or accept that a child’s paramount interests are, in the vast majority of cases, actually best served by facilitating and enforcing its meaningful relationship with both its parents. Instead, the judiciary has remained wedded to the archaic ‘single parent’, ‘primary carer’ model; an approach which has, sadly, led to a generation of fatherless children. RELOCATION LAW is a prime example: it rides rough-shod over any notion of shared parenting by placing thousands of miles between children and one of their parents. The judiciary’s approach is out of date and simply does not reflect the modern-day realities of 21st century shared parenting.
The aim of our Government’s proposed legislative changes is to make it very explicit to the judiciary that, for most children in litigated cases, ‘best interests’ equates to ‘shared parenting’.
Let us hope that any amendment to the Children Act (1989) will be robust enough to safeguard a child’s right to be parented by both its parents. Let us also remember that this issue is not about parents’ rights: it is entirely about children's rights.
Furthermore, let us be absolutely clear that shared parenting does NOT, as many critics would have us believe, necessitate a precise 50/50 split of parenting time. This would be highly impractical in most cases. Rather, it is expected to range upwards from 20/80. Another objection from the critics is that it will endanger children. Very plainly, shared parenting will only be granted to parents who are not a proven risk to their children. Unsubstantiated allegations made by bitter and disgruntled ex-partners – intent on using ‘their children as weapons’, to coin Sir Nicholas Wall’s expression – ought not to be enough!
It is a very great pity that the judiciary has failed to be proactive on shared parenting. For example, in the RELOCATION case of Re D (Children)  EWCA Civ 50, Sir Nicholas Wall, the President of the Family Division, was presented with no less than 15 contemporary scientific psychological and sociological research reports which demonstrated, beyond all reasonable doubt, the verifiable benefits for children of maintaining close and meaningful relationships with both parents. This irrefragable scientific evidence went ignored or relegated by him. In contrast, our Government, to whom the scientific evidence was also sent, is taking full heed. This is precisely why our elected Government needs to legislate. Child welfare is far too important to leave in the hands of a few unelected High Court judges, who often seem to be out of touch with modern society and family life, and who appear to have little understanding of the importance of scientific evidence.
Sunday July 22, 2012, 10:07
Apologies. This is the link (see above) http://news.realfathersforjustice.org/index.php?itemid=537
Saturday September 1, 2012, 14:36
It is a shame in this day and age, that all parties involved in these relocation cases are not held in the same regard, with the same weight of consideration.
It has been implied through the outcome of my own relocation case, that as a mother and the primary carer, I no longer am worthy of consideration as a human being. As a result of bearing children to a Scottish father, and that as a Canadian mother, I am fit enough to make all daily decisions regarding the upbringing of my children but am not worthy of consideration when making hard decisions about what is best in the long term for my children. I did not leave the family, I did not break up the family, but now I am forced to live in a country with my children with absolutely no family or support to help raise my children.
I absolutely agree children's rights must be upheld, access to all parties must be maintained. However in my case the ruling has resulted in what I feel as a complete breach of my human rights, to return to my family and home with my children when clearly they will have a better lifestyle, where I can afford to raise them properly. Each case should be held on its own merit, and not blanketed by a case that has no relation to their own.
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 21:10
When parents separate or divorce, the court automatically seeks to anoint one parent (usually the mother) with the legal status of "primary carer/resident parent". It then bestows upon that parent a grossly disproportionate degree of power and control over the children vis-à-vis the "secondary carer/non-resident parent" (dad).
In many acrimonious cases an embittered resident parent uses this power to exclude the second parent from the lives of the children. The courts are reluctant to punish this abhorrent behaviour, their rationale being that to punish the primary carer is tantamount to punishing the children. With no deterrence, this behaviour is set to continue.
Quite naturally, an unjustly excluded parent will employ the very costly (£200 plus per hour) services of solicitors and barristers in a desperate effort to regain contact with his children. Truly obscene sums of money begin to flow from broken families into the coffers of the law firms. The Family Justice industry feeds upon the love an excluded parent has for his children.
A presumption of shared parenting would permit a loving parent to be fully involved in the parenting of his children, post separation or divorce, without the need for costly and lengthy litigation. In Australia, for example, litigation reduced by circa 30% following the introduction of shared parenting legislation. Of course, in those relatively few cases where there is a serious and proven risk of harm, contact can and should be restricted.
Plainly, a similar reduction of circa 30% in British family court litigation would prove extremely damaging to the Family Justice industry. It is little wonder, then, that the Law Society is vehemently against a presumption of shared parenting. Family lawyers are not saints; we should not naively assume that their leaders would place genuine justice for parents and children ahead of their desire to maintain their income stream.
The judiciary is no better. Sir Nicholas Wall – the former President of the Family Division – sought to blame parents for “using their children as weapons”, without accepting in the least that it is the system itself which facilitates, encourages and fails to deter such abhorrent behaviour.
The real scandal is that the Law Society and the judiciary appear to have succeeded in persuading our Government to significantly dilute its original shared parenting proposals. There is now a very serious risk that the unsatisfactory status quo is set to continue.
Shame on the Law Society.
Shame on the judiciary.
Shame on the Government.
Sunday January 20, 2013, 17:11
The comments section of the following link sheds light on recent changes in English relocation law:
Saturday January 26, 2013, 23:57
An excellent article which exposes Sir Nicholas Wall's seemingly confused and contradictory stance on Payne v Payne:
A frank and comprehensive explanation from Wall would have been of great assistance to the legal fraternity. It's never too late, Nicholas!