12 Nov 20. The Family Practice Press Welcomes The Family Solutions Report reported in today’s Times.
Julian Nettlefold of the Family Practice Press said, “ The recommendations laid out in today’s Report from The Family Solutions Group mirror those of the Family Practice Press when we launched ‘Harry’s Law, in memory of my late son in September this year. This report vindicates the years of lobbying undertaken by my team, the Family Practice Press, Families Need Fathers, Dads and Fathers4Justice. For the past 40 years and more, families in the UK has been subjected to what can only be described as a gross social engineering project where evidence in the Family Courts is skewed towards the mother to ensure that she is the ‘natural carer; it could be called a holocaust against men and their children.
Successive governments have turned a blind eye to rogue practices undertaken by corrupt legal firms who charge huge fees from families at the same time as claiming an expertise in family law. The work we undertook from 1992 onwards resulted in100,000 families being identified in this draconian and illegal process. Those 100,000 families now have at least 300,000 children, many of whom have never seen their father and thus are dysfunctional in the process. The cost to the country and the NHS in particular runs into billions. We are calling on the Government today to immediately instigate these recommendations and prosecute any lawyers, such as Hodders in my case, who claim expertise in childcare and cause children to die or be abused.
In addition, we call on the Government to put in a process to compensate those families caught up in this ‘social experiment,’ which has made lawyers at least £2 billion a year. The process has cost me £1. 2 million so far and I lost my son through these abhorrent and illegal practices. My son will never be a father and I will never be a grandfather. My son’s memory is grater in death than life and it would be appropriate to have statue of him on the fifth plinth in Trafalgar Square. My only regret is that Dr Malcolm George, who pioneered a great deal of the research which showed that all the statistics quoted by so called ‘Experts’ in the Family Court were unreliable and skewed towards the mother died in 2012 before this Report; thus children died and were abused in the process.”
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Note to Editors: The Times Legal section reported that a report published today by the Family Solutions Group calls for a rethink. The group was set up in January by Mr Justice Cobb with a remit to consider the needs of separating families before they turn to court. It argues that family law issues — particularly those involving children — must be approached differently from other legal disputes.
First, a legal response to parental disagreements over their children is inappropriate for many, and actively harmful for some. Many disputes about children flow from unresolved emotions caused by the circumstances of relationship’s breakdown. These are relationship issues rather than legal matters.
Second, research is clear that parental conflict harms children, affecting their long-term mental health and future life prospects.
Too many children are silent victims of our legal system, with childhoods lived against a backdrop of family conflict. In the vast majority of cases children have no voice in the process.
Today’s report calls on the government to establish a family minister to co-ordinate policy and provision for separating families, beyond the administration of justice.
It advocates public education to reframe our cultural response to family breakdown away from an adversarial legal environment towards a child-centred, relational approach. Too many parents who separate on difficult terms expect to fight over their competing “rights”, rather than co-operate over their shared responsibilities.
And the report recommends a range of other reforms, including improved information and support for children, with those deemed old enough being consulted on decisions that will affect them.
The report calls for early triaging with parents to assess needs and direct them either to a “safety pathway” for vulnerable families who need access to the family court, or to a co-operative parenting route away from court to promote a long-term parenting relationship.
This is not easy for many separating parents. Hence the further recommendation that parents access a holistic range of support from therapists and mediators alongside legal services to help them to resolve issues together.
Compulsory training for all those who practise family law is crucial because it will raise awareness of the psychological implications of separation on parents and children, and the risk of harm that parental conflict has on children.
The report’s recommendations also call for the code of conduct of Resolution, a family law organisation, to be applied by all legal practitioners.
All lawyers must acknowledge the impact our conduct has on separating families. At the end of a case, how often do we consider the state in which we leave the parenting relationship and whether parents will manage co-operative parenting in the future?
Today’s report is ambitious — but significant change is needed to give better results for families.
- September FPP Release:
FAMILY PRACTICE PRESS
Harry’s Law Launched!
“Who is looking after Harry?”
Judge Wilcox April 1996, High Court.
07 Sep 20. The Family Practice Press Announces the Launch of ‘Harry’s Law’ today.
Julian Nettlefold of the Family Practice Press said, “For too long the High Court Family Division has been living in the past using slow, cumbersome, biased, expensive and outdated processes to manage children’s case in Court. The agonizing and cruel abuse suffered by my son Harry which preceded his early death could have easily been avoided if proper processes were in place in the Family Courts to manage the lawyers concerned and to govern the process by which these cases are heard. The Family Courts have expressed huge reluctance, in spite of years of pressure from a number of groups including Families Need Fathers and Fathers4Justice to adjust to the 21st century. Rather than admit a mistake had been made in 1990 the Family Courts made sure that every time I came back to Court to express my concern for my son, I was thwarted by a biased, outdated and creaking legal process which prefers coverup rather than admittance of mistakes. The system allowed coverup, no doubt to save the lawyers concerned being sued for negligence.”
“The process is stuck in the18th Century where the Court relies on the biased rhetoric of a barrister who is working for his client not the child to determine the future safety of a child. There are numerous technologies available to the Courts such as EEG tests and brain scans to determine if the abuser is suffering from a long-term condition such as Personality Disorder. At the moment the Personality Disorder sufferer, often the mother, is left unsupervised with the children until she or he commits a crime of abuse or murder. That is what I was faced with in 1992 when my ex-wife was granted custody of my son with the key evidence of Personality Disorder concealed from the Court. That hidden evidence was then not available to various local authorities and later the Court who conducted a Section 41 Child Abuse investigation after my son gave a Statement of Abuse in 1997. He was sent back to suffer more abuse and death.
“Today I am launching Harry’s Law that requires not only proper supervision and training of family lawyers but an automatic prison sentence for any lawyer who conceals evidence that could prevent a child from abuse and/or death. My son Harry’s name is just added to the long list of errors made by child protection agencies and the Courts where children are killed by their parent or parents. Most of these errors are caused by the crucial information proving that the mother or father is suffering from Personality Disorder, alcoholism or other such abuse-causing long-term conditions being hidden or deliberately withheld, that is unacceptable. One needless death of a child is one too many.”
On Friday, I am discussing the launch of ‘Harry’s Law’ with Andrea Leadsom M.P. with a view to progressing the issue through the House of Commons to introduce these much-needed reforms to protect children.
The agenda I have proposed is:
- Establish proper credentials for lawyers practicing under the Law Society Children Panel.
- As above for barristers practicing with children
- Annual audit for all firms and barristers.
- Fines for firms employing unqualified staff who deal with children.
- Strike off for life for all Partners who deliberately employ unqualified staff who are portrayed as trained.
- Automatic imprisonment for all lawyers and barristers who omit key evidence from Court which causes a child to be abused or die/murdered.
- Fixed tariffs for custody and wardship cases.
- Establish proper credentials for CAFCASS staff.
- Automatic use of technology as evidence to establish structural brain damage and Personality Disorder (PD).
- Proper management of mothers with PD with their children. Refusal to accept treatment should mean automatic loss of custody.
- Establish proper credentials for Expert Witnesses giving psychiatric opinions.
- Automatic calling of the GP to give evidence.
- Automatic rules of full disclosure of evidence in children’s cases.
If all the above fail the only option would be remove the franchise from lawyers in dealing with children and wardships and bring it under a Government-run umbrella Organisation, a kind of ‘Super CAFCASS.’ Although this would increase costs for the Government, the overall savings to the Government spending, particularly the NHS, would be billions. It would also ensure that families are not bankrupted by huge legal fees racked up in these cases. Local Authorities would also have huge savings from such a system.
On the wider issue of Domestic Violence in divorce, Lord Scarman’s landmark 1985 Richards Vs. Richards Judgement was meant to stop this process but lawyers went round this by the use of Court 38 in the High Court. The only way that Domestic Violence can be dealt with properly is for it to be made a crime and all DV cases heard in the criminal court.
Finally, my own opinion is that the No Fault Divorce Bill was brought in purely to protect lawyers from being sued for negligence. Making ‘No Fault’ mandatory will allow all abusers to get away with having their behaviour tried in court thus leaving children open to abuse post-divorce.
“When my son died in 2011 my barrister who had known the case since 1992 said to me that he knew it would end like that, as these cases always do.”
For the Family Courts to allow such a process is abhorrent.