News In Focus
Family judge sets up pro-marriage charity
30 April 2012
A Family Division judge in the English High Court has announced that he is to set up a pro-marriage charity.
Sir Paul Coleridge's Marriage Foundation will support marriage as the "gold standard for relationships", promoting policies and practical support to help combat family breakdown.
In a BBC radio interview today, the judge described family breakdown as "one of the most destructive scourges of our time" and as being fuelled by a "'Hello!' magazine attitude" to marriage.
Sir Paul said he was not knocking the magazine – he read it frequently, and "I normally find people in there are within my court with a year or two."
He added that he had been trying to raise the subject for some years, whenever he had the chance to speak publicly on the matter. "I am now convinced that it is time not only to talk but to act." He wanted his foundation to be "the start of a national movement", aiming to change attitudes right across society, and especially to improve the lives of children.
Supporters include Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former president of the Family Division; the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks; Baroness Deech, chairman of the Bar Standards Board; and Baroness Shackleton, a family lawyer whose divorce clients have included the Prince of Wales and Sir Paul McCartney.
Sir Paul estimated that about 3.8m children become involved with the family justice system each year, due to the divorce rate. He claimed that easy divorce rules had led to instability of family life, with damaging consequences for family members and for society.
He added that waiting for the Government to take action was "merely an excuse for moaning and inactivity".