The broken record of commenting

family law

As regular readers may be aware, I generally don’t respond to comments on my posts here. In fact, I don’t generally read comments, finding that it is not a very productive use of what little spare time I have available.

I do, however, dip my toes into those murky waters from time to time, and I have years of experience reading and responding to comments on my own blog (until I finally decided I had had enough and stopped allowing comments). I do, therefore, know a fair bit about the nature of commenting on a family law blog.

Recently, as some may have noticed, I have been making a modest effort to read some of the comments on my posts here, and even respond to a few. It has not been a very uplifting experience, akin (and now I’m showing my age) to listening to an old vinyl record that keeps skipping back a groove, repeating the same phrase over and over.

Only this particular phrase, which I seem to come across in about 90 per cent of the comments I read, is not exactly musical. It repeats the same mantra endlessly – that the family justice system generally, and the family courts in particular, is/are corrupt and biased against men and fathers.

And it doesn’t matter whether that mantra is relevant to the subject matter of the post commented upon. Often it is not, or at best only by some tenuous link. I swear I could write a post here about the merits of the Queen’s Gambit as a chess opening, and someone would come on to comment about how the opening was an example of prejudice against men, part of the conspiracy of corruption and bias emanating from our family justice system.

Look, contrary to what some may believe, I am not unsympathetic. I know that the system can fail fathers. In fact, I probably knew that long before most of the present commenters ever came into contact with the system. I well remember, for example, a case back in the 1980s when I was not yet (or newly) qualified, in which a partner in my firm was acting for a father who was being denied contact with his daughter. I had a few dealings with the case myself, whilst the partner was away. Sadly, the father had some issues with depression, which the mother mercilessly used against him. In fact, there was no good reason why he should not see his daughter. I recall in particular an occasion whilst I was looking after the case that the father suggested to me, only half-jokingly, that he might take his own life. In the end he lost contact with his daughter, despite having excellent representation, and he did take his life. It was an absolute tragedy, and it struck me then that the system had failed both him and his daughter.

So I ‘get it’. As I said, I probably ‘got it’ long before most commenters here did. I also got that there were no easy fixes, and that means that now, thirty years later, some fathers are still being failed, although I like to believe that lessons have been learned and that the failure rate is less than it was back then.

But to suggest over and over that the system fails all fathers, or even the majority of fathers, is both wrong and unhelpful. It will deter many fathers from cooperating with the system. And cooperation is, like it or not, the best way to achieve what they want.

Constantly repeating the mantra is also extremely tedious, and is likely to be a turn-off to many ‘neutral’ readers, and those looking for a serious discussion relevant to the topic or topics raised in the post. No one wants to keep reading the same thing again and again. Repeating the same thing does not make it true.

Don’t get me wrong: like most bloggers, I like to receive relevant and interesting comments, irrespective of whether or not they agree with the views I express in my posts. Sensible, polite, discussion is healthy, and to be encouraged. However, the worth of a blog post is not measured by the number of comments it receives, so I would happily rather receive no comments than twenty comments that are not relevant, or that repeat the same point made many times previously.

I’m sure some of the commenters genuinely believe that they have been badly treated by the family justice system, although others no doubt are jumping on the bandwagon. I guess what I am asking for is an improvement in the level of debate. By all means join the discussion, but keep it relevant and tap that turntable so that the stylus moves to a new groove once in a while!

Image by Tobias Begemann via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

John Bolch

John Bolch often wonders how he ever became a family lawyer. He no longer practises, but has instead earned a reputation as one of the UK's best-known family law bloggers.

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25 comments

Vincent McGovern - May 25, 2017 at 9:35pm

I have many times commented on how biased the system is against fathers, five Ombudsman Investigations incl 2 Parliamentary against Cafcass is proof of that.

I’m also aware of how brutally some mothers are treated, a tiny minority in private family law and many within ‘public law.’ I have as a McKenzie been involved in a case where the mother took her own life, several years ago but it still weighs on me. And yet throughout the EU the UK stands alone and unique in it’s appalling family court system. The briefest of checks in the truly excellent and well researched book ‘An Exercise in Absolute Futility’ provides further evidence. Yet nobody in the system ever does anything other than either defend the system or pay lip service to change.

Anon - May 25, 2017 at 11:23pm

Family law system fails fathers etc etc. Sorry, had to be done. Actually I have personal experience of the family law system bending over backwards to accomodate a wholly unsuitable father. The system isn’t perfect. Any dispute that goes to court is unlikely to leave all the parties happy; One wins and another loses. It’s the way it is. Ideally the person who can provide the best environment for the child should win. People who want to use their children to tell a “woe is me” story probably shouldn’t get the time of day.

Paul - May 26, 2017 at 10:30am

Unsuitable by whos measure ? What is the accepted grounds to be a father ?
“Woe is me story”
Jesus christ. I hope this is not a post from a legal professional. You don’t seem to have a grasp of the whole situation.

Stitchedup - May 26, 2017 at 9:19am

“Ideally the person who can provide the best environment for the child should win”…. Completely disagree, parental contact with children should not be means tested.

Stitchedup - May 26, 2017 at 9:38am

2 women a week, 2 women a week, 2 women a week, sounds like somebody else is stuck in the groove. The problem John is that our justice system has become infected with feminist political correctness as recent manifestos have, yet again, demonstrated. It is blatant and offensive. The issue of domestic abuse has now been blown up out of all proportion, and as it is primarily viewed as a male on female issue, men are receiving summary justice in the family and criminal courts. Having experienced this for myself and observed others experience equally poor treatment from the police, solicitors and courts, I make no apology for raising this issue at every opportunity, even if in your view it is by some tenuous link. It is a very, very serious issue… The suicide rates for men are appallingly high and very often it is the treatment they receive during and after divorce and separation that pushes men over the edge. Children also suffer by having links with fathers severed and suffering the emotional and psychological abuse of parental alienation. Very often the family justice system is complicit in this alienation as they are conditioned to believe all men are abusive and potential murderers and everything leads back to the mantra that domestic violence/abuse is rampant and men are the culprits…. It’s that stuck record that needs a nudge.

Peter Davies - May 26, 2017 at 9:42am

Hi John
I think you have identified the problem John. Whereas you complain about lack of evidence you support your own arguments with vague and anodyne statements like, ‘…I like to believe that lessons have been learned and that the failure rate is less than it was back then.’ You like to believe’ is aspirational rather than factual. Isn’t the application of the law supposed to be predicated upon evidence? Where is the evidence for that belief? If you would like a sensible argument about that I will gladly oblige.

As I stated earlier, the recent case of Re B contained a few important points that were overlooked by you and others. Instead we were subjected to a superficial and biased commentary that used terms like ‘nuclear option’ to describe a transfer of residence. At a time when considerable progress is being made in terms of awareness and understanding of emotional abuse in alienation cases the use of the term ‘nuclear option’ was a very poor choice of language: unless it was your intention to sensationalise the judgment and emulate journalists like Christopher Booker. I would suggest that you contact a few practitioners in the area who grapple daily with the problem at the coal face and they will gladly inform you just how damaging this statement was. It is possible that children and their families have suffered as a direct consequence of it.

However, there are elements to the Re B case that illustrate graphically that perhaps your faith in the system and ‘lessons being learned’ is misplaced and lacking in an evidential basis. The situation is not helped when commentators do not pick up upon or possibly gloss over important detail that illustrates how lessons are, in fact, not being learned. Another point of fact is that when lessons are being learned they are failing to permeate into the lower courts.

Having read, catalogued and summarised every published alienation, intractable or implacable judgment since 1984 as research for a dissertation I often feel a sense of Déjà vu when I am reading judgments from alienation cases. This is partly because the facts can be remarkably similar but perhaps it is also because, time and again, we see the same mistakes being repeated. Whilst the higher courts appear to be learning there is a gulf of difference between them and the lower courts.

The Children Act 1989 is unambiguous and uses simple words at S 1 (2) to tell us:

‘In any proceedings in which any question with respect to the upbringing of a child arises, the court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay in determining the question is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child.’

For the most part there is now such a long catalogue of cases which have dragged on inexorably that it seems to most users of the system that this provision simply does not exist.

Re B was the most recent example to bear striking similarities to an earlier case. This time the original blunder in a lower court was seven years ago in 2010. The problems were illuminated by Thorpe LJ in Re S (Contact: Intractable Dispute) [2010] 2 FLR 1517 CA and Thorpe LJ told us that it was not straightforward. In fact it was a case, ‘…at the extreme end of difficulty in the difficult field of intractable contact disputes.’ It was a case that revolved two boys of 12 and 13 years of age.

In spite of its apparent difficulty, Thorpe LJ was critical of the previous contact order made by the lower court. He tells us,

‘…that the judge essentially ducks the issue in failing to find the mother’s obstruction of contact deliberate and wilful is difficult indeed to make good given that the judge specifically emphasised that she had gained some understanding of the parties as a result of three days of evidence and submissions in her court…’

He added that.

‘It is a condition of the contact that the children have to decide for each contact whether to take it up or not. That is a highly unusual provision and, whilst it seems on the face of it to conform with the children´s wishes and feelings, in reality it burdens them with a responsibility that they should not be asked to bear at their respective ages of 12 and 13.”

In Re S Thorpe LJ was understandably critical of children of 12 and 13 years old being burdened with the responsibility for deciding whether to have contact or not. It places them in an awful situation that plays directly into the hands of an emotionally abusive, manipulative and alienating parent. However, instead of learning from this mistake it was repeated when, years later a judge made an order in similar terms but with a major difference. In the case of re B the decision had been placed with an even younger and more vulnerable child of less than 8 years old!

At paragraph 16 in Re B, HHJ Gordon Saker states:

‘There was an acceptance of IB’s apparent reluctance to go to contact. On 24th July (at what I note was the tenth hearing), an order was made for gradual increases in contact building up to overnight in September “if IB wishes to do so”. That burden of decision making should not have been placed on IB. Needless to say, overnight contact did not take place.’

In spite of Thorpe LJ’s earlier assertion that it was ‘unusual’ to place decision making power in the hands of teenagers here we are, seven years later, finding that it is perhaps not as rare for this provision to be placed in orders as Thorpe LJ thought. The phrase “if IB wishes to do so” placed a burden upon this young child’s shoulders that was simply too heavy for any child to bear. Furthermore, the power to determine when, if or how often contact takes place was placed in the hands of an under eight year old who had been triangulated by a manipulative parent into a dispute between adults. HHJ Gordon-Saker apportions responsibility for failing to make contact work firmly with the mother but with all due respect should it not also be acknowledge that, through a very poorly worded order, the lower court facilitated it?

I have assumed that both cases were mistakes or lapses on behalf of the judges involved but what if they were not and if not, what research advise is this style of order based upon? Did CAFCASS actually recommend burdening children that do not yet have the cognitive capacity required to take such responsibility? It would be useful to learn whether others have had orders like this imposed upon them. Why is personal autonomy and power, over adults with parental responsibility, being delegated by the courts to children that have not yet reached junior school age and for whom the adults are supposed to have parental responsibility?

The judgment in Re B is quite lengthy but HHJ Gordon-Saker does seem to be spelling out her gently probing scrutiny of the ‘facts’ which others have simply taken at face value. This exercise is something that should not be beyond the capability of any legal professional let alone a judge but sadly and too often it would appear to have been neglected. HHJ Gordon-Saker also had the benefit of a specialised report but surely had the judges in the lower courts asked the right questions then the welfare of the child at the heart of this unfortunate case could have been the paramount concern of the court at least a year earlier. If should not have needed a more senior judge to work out that something was amiss. These cases are complicated but the manipulative techniques engaged by alienating parents seldom bear the complexity of rocket science and in judges we are supposed to be privileged to have some of the finest minds in the land. So, what is the problem?

This case also posed several other questions. Firstly, why are judges in lower courts not aware of case law in recent very similar cases? Why are solicitors and barristers failing to advise them of this? And lastly, why are CAFCASS workers also apparently blissfully unaware of how similar cases and orders have been viewed by more senior courts? Re B is the most recent in a long line of cases that expose inadequacies at lower levels.

I wholeheartedly agree with calls for further training and engagement of experts with a proven track record in alienation cases but there is something that the professions involved should be putting right before asking for more investment. It would be a good start if everyone that we rely upon in the family courts actually did their jobs first.

The people that appear to irk you seem to me to be those whose kids and themselves may have suffered at the hands of sometimes badly informed or ill advised judges. The case law shows the tip of an iceberg and it is only when there is greater transparency, extending to all family courts, that we will get an idea of the full extent of any problems. The courts could help themselves by extending the remit of transparency guidance in order that we can see the extent of problems in the lower courts. On the basis of recent judgments there are very good reasons to be asking questions and when there are such huge delays in implementing transparency it is inevitable that there will be accusations of cover ups and bias. I hope this reply is sufficiently ‘relevant, interesting’ ‘sensible and polite’ if somewhat lengthy. I don’t think I would be alone in asking why do you believe that things have improved? I want to ask you that because the case law actually shows that, although the upper courts appear to be more switched on, the lower courts still have a very long way to go.
P.S If you would like to discuss evidence of bias then i will gladly provide evidence on that topic as well

Paul - May 26, 2017 at 1:00pm

Thats fantasticly articulated Peter. I agree 100%.

Cameron Paterson - May 26, 2017 at 9:49am

Quick reader to readers leaving comments: forthright language is fine but obviously offensive remarks and ad hominem accusations will be moderated.

“ad hominem

adverb & adjective
1.
(of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.”

Paul - May 26, 2017 at 10:11am

Bit dissapointed you chose to moderate that comment Cameron. It was not in anyway an accusation. I think it would have helped John a great deal.
Simply pointed out that if you knew the system was driving people to suicide in the 80’s and you carry on regardless. Rolling out the same system. Without effecting change. Then you are complicite in any further deaths which took place. Over the next 30 years. Of which their have been many. An they are still taking place. Thats a fact not an accusation.

Paul - May 26, 2017 at 9:56am

While my last comment is been. Moderated. This system is wrong from the outset. The whole approach is wrong. An adverserial system means that everybody ‘loses’ in this system. There does not have to be a Winners and losers situation here. I totally disagree with that. Fathers have died and as pointed out in the comments mothers have died. Most often it is the children that lose most of all. This has been happening since the 80’s and exactly NO studies have been done to see how children are affected after a seperation. It is a hatchet job. How does it effect these children as they become adults and understand the situation more? To think this ends in court with one decission is complete madness. These decissions change lives. Turn lives upside down and have ended lives. There has to be a better solution. We understand much more about psycology now than we did in the 80’s. Stopping one parent been part of a childs life should not even be a possability in law. Only social services should be making that difficult choice. If there was a GENUINE problem. The system needs a complete change.

Paul Apreda - May 26, 2017 at 10:11am

Hi John – you’re an amusing and interesting commentator. I do really understand how difficult it is for you listening to the overwhelming cacophony of criticism that you DON’T ‘get it’ about the experience of fathers. I really sympathise that it’s like listening to an old vinyl record. Imagine then the experience of all those men who read Marilyn’s blog when they come across another of your comments that repeats the same old mantra – that the family justice system is fair and unbiased – that litignats in person cause delays and mess up the smooth running of the justice system – which of course is designed by lawyers for the benefit of lawyers.
At our conference in March the President of the Family Division called on politicians and others to re-design Family Justice – to recognise that Private law is now ‘a lawyer free zone’ and he called for the Red Book to be consigned to the bonfire.
What I would ask you to consider is the possibility that rather than everyone else being wrong it is conceivable that the person who simply fails to have a grasp on reality is you. It is also an astonishing confession for a commentator with the privieleged position of writing for the blog of the largest specialist Family law firm in the UK that you feel it acceptable to not bother to defend your own views shared here or to take on board any criticism. Sometimes I can see that you face very robust attacks from other commentators on this blog – BUT – honestly do you expect anything less when you adopt this attitude to rational, well researched criticism?

Yvie - May 26, 2017 at 10:44am

Yes John, we do go on a bit, but the number of deaths that can be attributed directly or indirectly to our present legislation should never be forgotten or swept under the carpet for fear of being perceived as a Mantra. I met a friend recently who I had not seen for a while. Her son had apparently been through an acrimonious divorce. Financially it had been horrendous with the CSA and legal fees etc, and in helping their son their retirement savings had drastically diminished. Eventually they lost contact with their two grandchildren despite all their efforts.. During that time her husband had a stroke and died some months afterwards, and my friend was of the opinion that the financial and emotional strain of the divorce and all its ramifications had contributed to his death. I would welcome anything that could be done to make life more bearable following divorce for both parents and children. And at the risk of going on and on again, the percentage calculation for fathers earning below the national average wage is totally unrealistic. They need to be able to pay their bills without having to depend on family members.

JamesB - May 27, 2017 at 12:24pm

‘I would welcome anything that could be done to make life more bearable following divorce for both parents and children.’

Absolutely. I also agree that scrapping the csa / cmec / cmoptions / cms would be helpful towards that.

I do not think that women clean up on divorce as much as they did. Still, the culture of expectation in Yvie’s post rings true and I try to bring up my daughters to care.

What has happened good to me since me and my ex split has been despite the system not because of it. Also by manipulation of the system and my ex as the default of stitching the man up on contact and money was too much.

On John’s point, he admits in the example he gave that it failed that man. He likes to think the law is better now? It is not.

Speak to people, FFS, as I do. you get what your ex offers, or less if you go to court. You can if you have resources (most dont) withdraw money to put pressure to see the kids more. Or if you are rich as most of Stowe’s clients are sort it out in court with respect for court orders on both sides and enforcement.

For most people the family law fails them. The thing is the government have learned the hard way the hypocratic oath that doing something usually makes things worse. I think they are right to try and disengage and kill the csa / cmec / cmoptions / cms by a thousand cuts and let people sort it out between them.

I have contact with aristocrats and from their divorces finances and contact dont go anywhere near court, the only things with them that gets to court is the divorce petition. That is the way to go.

Paul - May 26, 2017 at 10:58am

This is the stance of a dictator. Putting his fingers in his ears while people are pointing out the ‘obvious’ flaws in his game.
Just utter obstinance. To campaign for fathers rights really is futile because these dinosaurs are so entrenched they will just dig their heels in and IGNORE anything which is said. Legal professionals IGNORING volumes of evidence and carrying on reguardless.
Comparisons can be drawn to MPs and alledged democrates not accepting brexit.
Alledged legal professionals will not accept ‘evidence’ that their legal system is bias and flawed.
Just dig their heels in and ignore it. Unbeleivable.
Courts an legal professionals which do not accept evidence have no credibility.
Your undermining yourselves.
Men treated in this way lose
ALL RESPECT FOR THE LAW.
This whole issue is INCREDIBLY corrosive.
We are supposed to be ruled by consent. I don’t consent to this madness.

Min - May 26, 2017 at 10:41pm

An excellent post and one with a message that needs repeating. Often.

The Family Court does fail some fathers, it also fails some mothers. It does not fail them all.

The ‘what about me’ narrative is tedious in the extreme and does nothing to address some very key issues that need reforming.

If only the ‘what about me’ crowd spent as much time actually campaigning and lobbying for change As they do by flooding the comments section.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Stitchedup - May 30, 2017 at 7:22am

It’s really amazing how these women’s aid types have the nerve and audacity to accuse anybody else of being tedious. Lol

Paul - May 30, 2017 at 8:58am

‘What about me’ crowd. lol how dehumanising. From what I have read this system fails more people than it helps. But we will never know because their have been no long term studies done. People do campaign and lobby for change. Repeating these ‘tedious’ comments is part of that campaign. Making the people who blindly roll out this system what harm they do. The people who roll out this system are in the best possition to change it. Their are hundreds of petitions and fathers rights groups. Ask a local MP how many visits they get to their surgery reguarding this law. To say these people do not campaign is ‘bullsxxt’. I myself went out in the street collecting signatures for a petition. Some of the stories I was told were appauling. We had grandmothers in tears because they could not see their grand kids. It was truely horrible. There are approximatly 4 million men/families directly effected by this injustice. A minority which the government seems happy to ignore. Current affairs seem to keep it off the agenda. So these people are simply ignored for now.

Stitchedup - May 30, 2017 at 9:12am

It’s far from ‘what about me’, it would be obvious to any un-blinkered, reasonably intelligent person that there’s a common overarching theme to many of the comments from individuals which is the gender bias in family courts and criminal courts. So we’re not saying ‘what about me’ we’re saying, as feminists like to put it, ‘what about teh menz’. You should also note that there ate campaigners amongst the commentators and raising issues in comments is in itself a form of campaigning. It seems that feminists and women’s aid types have become accustomed to controlling the debate and on many forums any comment that challenges their mantra are moderated out. Fortunately Marilyn has taken the stance to allow that mantra to be challenged and allow healthy debate which I believe is why the forum is so successful. The gender bias in the courts often dwarfs other issues raised by contributors and very often they either unwittingly or deliberately demonstrate evidence of this in the cases and policies being discussed. It really is the elephant in the room.

JamesB - May 27, 2017 at 12:02pm

John seems to be giving Katie Hopkins a run for her money in the popularity competition.

Also interested in how courts have changed and developing that point which someone made above.

Anecdotally I did read that the lawyers killed F4J by giving the leaders the time with their children they sought.

Perhaps Americans have it right, it seems perhaps the arguing is about money and power rather than contact. I think not though, probably all three it (family court) fails at, as I sit here, again, not seeing my children, in breach of contact order with nothing I can do and fed up with it and John adding insult to injury.

Jim - May 27, 2017 at 2:32pm

Is the system biased, well yes and no is the very simple and very stark answer. However, the system was created by and largely administered by men, it is only relatively recently that women have played a larger role in the making and enforcing of laws. Sadly, the Government is woefully behind the times, there are people working in the system who do a fantastic job, and there are those, such as my current ex’s “Public Access Barrister” who do a god awful job – although I will use the law to deal with this particular bullying bad example of a law professional.

Sadly the way the law is interpreted is not down to the system, but those within it. The law needs to be overhauled, of that there is no doubt, not just for fathers’ rights, but for true equality, true transparency and the best interests of the child(ren). Currently, the law is worded in such a way that allows ambiguity, and that needs to be changed as society tends to remit to the mother, in relationship breakdowns, “possession” of the children.

Children are not possessions, they are not trinkets and they are most certainly not weapons to be used in a breakup. It is odd that when a man makes repeated statements to a woman, it is harassment, but when a woman does it to a man, and actively states she will stop child access unless she gets the kitchen sink, the law does generally side with the women. It may not be what was intended by those laying down the statutes, but it is what happens.

John, also, recent research indicates that about 40% of male suicides between the ages of 40 and 50 are the result of parental alienation by mothers. This equates to around 3500 deaths per year. If the system was not biased that figure would be significantly lower.

Peter Davies - May 29, 2017 at 10:27am

Thank you for your kind comments Paul, I have attempted to respond to John in the manner he has solicited. I have consistently presented carefully researched evidence methodically and, although I write plainly, I have observed social conventions of good manners and politeness in doing so. I have to say that it would be very nice, polite and heart warming for my time and effort to be reciprocated by someone that I assume is being paid to do a job. As I implied in an earlier post, I think it is normally a good idea for people to actually do the jobs that they are paid for.

Long ago, whilst in my teens, I read a book by the late and great Carl Sagan, called ‘This Demon Haunted World’. Its main subject was the debunking of myths through science and the scientific method. Chapter 13 is the one that everyone should read. It is called ‘The fine art of boloney detection’. It contains valuable advice on identifying, countering and improving the quality of rhetorical and fallacious arguments.

There are lots of examples of rhetoric and fallacious argument in John’s piece here. I don’t have the time to go through them all this morning but here is one that is repeated in the manner of the ‘worn record’ that John finds irksome.

‘So I ‘get it’. As I said, I probably ‘got it’ long before most commenters here did.’

Sagan informs us that this is a statement from authority that John uses to inform us that his view is in some way better or superior to that expressed by others merely because of his experience, his standing and because he learned something earlier. Sagan tells us to disregard such statements unless they are supported by valid data and evidence. (Actually, my Dad told me this long before I read Sagan.) Sagan also tells us that such an argument is also a non-sequitur because it does not follow that John’s argument is superior merely because he learned something before you or I. i.e it is possible that he stopped learning in the meantime etc. Sagan adds that the proposition that one either “gets it’ or not is also a false dichotomy or an argument with a missing middle because there are many degrees of understanding between fully understanding something and not understanding it. Finally, Sagan informs us that a straw man argument is one which mischaracterises a proposition in order to make it easier to attack. Therefore, when John asserts that his knowledge and standing is superior to his audience he is mischaracterising his audience and thus employing a straw man argument. There are also examples of most of the other devices described by Sagan in John’s piece but I think you will get the point without me labouring it. I don’t want to sound like a worn record.

I presented a quite detailed argument with evidence that shows why John is plainly wrong. That is, I gave an example where lessons had NOT been learned and even if they had they had not been communicated or people had simply not listened or bothered to take them on board. In an age when we can easily ‘google’ or use databases like Lexus, Westlaw and even Bailii or Family Law Weekly to get access to good data from primary sources, at the press of a button, it is disappointing when people do not bother to use the resources at their disposal. It is a paradox that information has never been so freely and readily accessible but that people appear to have never been less inclined to use it.

In the tradition of the reasoned and intelligent debate that John infers he would like to promote it would be helpful if John could lead by example and actually provide a properly evidenced article to the standards he wishes from others that shows how and why he ‘believes’ that the courts have learnt from their mistakes.

If John is unable or unwilling to engage with his audience then I would suggest that he sticks to his own blog and Marilyn engages the services of someone that can. Most other bloggers seem to appreciate that communication also involves listening.

JamesB - May 30, 2017 at 10:41am

His argument is that he is or was a professional and expert.

I had this from a circuit court judge once, “don’t tell me how to do my job”.

Basically its the establishment ‘its the way things are done around here’ argument. It was the reason the Labour Party was founded as without power it is not possible to change things and you have to take what is given even if its rubbish, which is what most non resident fathers get from family law.

John’s argument that it is fair because he says so is baloney and argumentative and without data or open courts non substantive as is me saying no it is not fair. I think most peoples experience will suggest those places have not been good times in their lives and could and should have been dealt with better. Perhaps John being argumentative is good though as it may encourage people to try and change things through other avenues. I am not sure how though, I don’t think arguing with John is going to achieve much. Perhaps engage with your MP or a political movement instead.

Paul - May 30, 2017 at 9:41am

Think this post was designed by Mr Bolch as a ‘play pen’ to stop us ‘screwed over’ fathers from ruining the other posts an leading them ‘off topic’ lol 🙂

JamesB - May 30, 2017 at 10:46am

Interesting, thanks. He also does this shock jock thing to generate traffic from time to time. Some times I even agree with him, but not usually and that PA is glossed over by him and the establishment is a disgrace and needs to and should change soon and I hope and think it will with effort, its bad that it is as it is though and that people like him say its fine. He also doesn’t say his personal situation at all and I think with this type of stuff it is difficult to empathise unless you have been through it yourself to a degree. There is a saying don’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in their boots. The death figures above have scared me this weekend and in the past though and that is very bad and hopefully will be reduced and sorted out sooner rather than later.

Paul - May 30, 2017 at 12:01pm

Not likely to be sorted anytime soon.
Its reguarded as a political hot potato. Too hot for anyone to handle. Any party that touches it are in for a deluge of critacism. If they got it badly wrong there would be an uproar. So they just bury their heads in the sand an watch men keep jumping off bridges.
They won’t touch it with a barge pole. However bad this idea is. They do not have a better one.
Jeremy Corbyn would rather sit down with the IRA and Hamass than fathers rights groups to design a better system.
(To be fair they did climb on his roof when he apposed shared parenting.)
See nobody gets out and lobbys or campaigns. Lol

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