In this post-truth world, does it matter what the public believes?

family law

“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”

― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

I wrote here the other day about how, in this post-truth world, the public chooses what it wants to believe, irrespective of pesky little details like facts. Such people are commonplace in the world of family law, believing what they want about the family justice system, oblivious to the reality. As I explained, there are some lawyers who devote a great deal of their time to trying to put these people right, labouring under the misconception that if you explain the truth of why the family courts do what they do, then the public will understand. Of course, that is not the case, as we live in a post-truth world. The truth is of no importance – the only thing that is important is what you choose to believe.

But does all of this matter? Does it matter that there are some who believe falsehoods in relation to the family justice system? After all, the public is ignorant about lots of things. Many still think the Earth is flat, that we didn’t land on the Moon and that Princess Diana was killed by aliens from the planet Zarg. OK, perhaps not that last one, although I wouldn’t be surprised.

Who cares what people think? Let them stew in their ignorance – it’s their loss, after all. It’s the problem of a flat-Earther to explain how they can see further when they’re on top of a mountain and why no one has seen the Earth’s edge. My life is not made any less rich by their ignorance. It’s true that all people of reason would like everyone else to share their knowledge, but it ain’t going to happen, so why stress about it?

In the context of family law, does it matter that some people think that judges are biased, that the system exists to take children away from their parents, or that the court purposely decided that a child should die, rather than receive life-saving treatment? They can believe whatever they want, as hard as they want, but it won’t make an iota of difference to the truth – facts don’t care what anyone believes.

Well it certainly doesn’t matter to those who believe in such things if they’re not involved with the family justice system. They can get angry at what they wrongly think is an injustice, but their anger is their problem, so long as it doesn’t lead to them breaking the law. And even then, any penalties imposed on them by the law are their problem too.

On the other hand, if they are involved with the family justice system, or if they have caused anyone so involved to become a ‘non-truth’ believer, then it may well matter to them or to that person, as they are then likely to make bad decisions in relation to their case. We see this all the time. If, for example, a litigant in person believes the judge is biased against them, then they may decide that it is no longer worth their while engaging with the court, thereby doing enormous damage to their case.

But this is still the problem of the person who has decided to be a non-believer in the truth. Where it may become the problem of the rest of society is if the truth-deniers are so vociferous that they influence our law makers into making bad laws. We all know how those in power will do anything to please their voters, and we have seen something of this already with the ill-advised introduction of the ‘shared parenting presumption’. Hopefully, however, that was just an aberration, and that when it comes to the big picture wiser counsels will prevail – I may be an optimist, but I remain confident that ultimately they will. After all, there have always been those whose views are, shall we say, ‘non-conformist’: post-truthism is not entirely new.

Maybe, instead of trying to fight ignorance, we should just ignore it, and concentrate on getting on with our jobs in the real family justice system – I certainly don’t think there is any point in knocking our heads against a solid brick wall of untruths. Maybe we should just leave the ignorant to their fate, rather than acknowledge them and thereby give them a status that they don’t deserve.

Photo by Nams82 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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27 comments

Stitchedup - July 31, 2017 at 5:32pm

John has seen fit to deliver this tripe without even attempting to address some of the very valid points raised by the dissenters. If John’s attitude is typical of those that run our family justice system then I fear society is in for an extremely bumpy ride.
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Dr manhattan - July 31, 2017 at 11:25pm

This Mr Bolch is beginning to annoy a lot of people with his Family court Biased remarks.

Nicky - August 2, 2017 at 6:50am

John seems to be confusing the idea of “bias” with “purpose(ful)ly prejudiced”.
Some judges are, perhaps.
But while most judges are no doubt “well-meaning”, that doesn’t mean they always get it right.
John seems to want to present the naive notion that they always do.
If that were the case, there would never be any reason for appeals.

Dr manhattan - August 2, 2017 at 1:53pm

Absolutely Right.

Paul - July 31, 2017 at 6:14pm

Were taking about hundreds of thousands of people who have been directly effected by the family court system. Your engauging with people with first hand direct experience of the court system an we are ALL directly telling you the samething. Our accounts are consistant and would pass any standard of evidence in any trial. We all tell you consistantly , the system is bias and it is corrupt. Give us a platform. We will happily prove it too you. That is an open challenge.
Im no solicitor but I beleive the evidence against your possition is so profound I would happily litagate against you.
Since when were first hand witness accounts not accepted by a court in this country as acceptible evidence ?
We are not cashual observers. We have first hand witness experience.
There is OVERWHELMING evidence to support what we have said. Give us a platform so the evidence can be heard. The only people actively speaking to preserve this system are those who profit from it. That speaks volumes in its self. This is in no way an off hand insult. I feel like you are a deeply delutional individual. No amount of evidence will change your thinking.
We should carry on and ignore the ingnorant. (That is an uttey hilarious statement which encompasses the whole problem) declairing yourself to be ignorant in the face of overwhelming evidence lol. No court which ignores evidence is fit for perpose and is by definition an act of facism.
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Dr manhattan - July 31, 2017 at 11:39pm

Paul,
you hit the nail on the head when you said “The only people actively speaking to preserve this system are those who profit from it”.
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you wont win with Mr Bolch. he’s a Family courts career success and thats all he needs to know. i would guess he will dismiss just about any corruption story you care to throw at him inc Justice pauffley who exposed judges and social workers conspiring to remove children Unlawfully in 2014. here –
dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2562249/It-never-happen-Appeal-judge-slams-cut-paste-decision-
family-court-led-social-workers-taking-baby-parents-unjustly.html#ixzz4kXy0N39a

not to mention how many times Sir James Munby and other judges have made their mouths go about wrongdoing in the Family courts.
Mr Bolch probably believes these are all made up by the Media.
Maybe they are but lets see the evidence that these are Fake News stories.

Humble-Mumble - August 2, 2017 at 5:29am

“We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people who have been directly effected by the family court system. You’re engaging with people with first hand direct experience of the court system and we are ALL directly telling you… the system is biased and… corrupt….
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“There is OVERWHELMING evidence to support what we have said…. The only people actively speaking to preserve this system are those who profit from it…. No amount of evidence will change your thinking….”
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I, too, in some respects am amazed that John consistently takes such a strong “pro-establishment” view. Yes, as a lawyer, he certainly had an investment in believing the fundamental “justice” of the justice system. But now he is retired — and yet still he has not stepped back from his “no bias, no injustice” views.
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The point is John, I don’t think anyone here is saying that ALL courts/decisions are biased — but it would be insane to contend they never are! For a start, even with the best will in the world, subconsciously we all carry biases — and if the judge’s does not accord with ours — we protest. Who is right? Of course, the judge! Because he/she is PAID to be “right”. He/she is “in charge”.
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But just like Donald Trump — just because HE says something is SO, doesn’t MEAN that it IS so! People around him and those benighted folk in awe of him, kowtow to him, because they more or less have to — he is the PRESIDENT, the top dog. Yet power can so easily go to someone’s head — as we saw in the case of “The Mooch” — Anthony Scaramucci — who was quickly intoxicated by it. Thank god HE had very little legitimacy, being appointed at the whim of the President. Is it really that much difference with JUDGES?
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The fact is, John, although all your experience may be with family courts, just around the corner from where you argued your cases are criminal courts — and we ALL know of some miscarriages of justice in those. With those so close, has the thought never occurred to you that something similar sometimes happens in the family courts?? It would be truly mind-boggling if it has not — yet you never admit to any doubts, anytime, anywhere. Are you then still working for “The President”? Would your pension be in danger to offer any encouragement to those who believe “The System” has shafted them? Or is it that you TRULY believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the system?
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If so, then let me tell you what they used to say in NYC when I was living there: “A liberal is just a conservative who hasn’t been mugged.” ie. Just wait till YOU get caught up in the system…
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I, like many of us here, HAVE been “mugged” — though not in New York, nor even in the streets of London. It was in a court of law. A family court.
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Something you have either never witnessed — or simply didn’t care about.
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“Sad.”

Dr manhattan - August 2, 2017 at 1:51pm

Once again as with others Well said Humble!

Paul - July 31, 2017 at 6:24pm

In this post truth world the courts forget that they are performing a duty to enact the will of the people. We are policed by concent.
Non of us concent to the state removing our children for no good reason without a respectible trial or hearing.
We are not ignorant at all. We understand what you do perfectly well. We are all collectively telling you.
WE DO NOT AGREE WITH IT.
IT IS THE WRONG APPROACH THE FAMILY DISPUTES.
WE DO NOT BELEIVE IT IS HELPING ANYONE.
WE BELEIVE IT IS HARMFUL AND DAMAGING GENERATIONS OF FAMILYS AND CHILDREN.
WE WANT IT CHANGED/REFORMED FOR THE BETTER.
FATHERS ARE IMPORTANT TO US AS AND INSTITUTION AND WE WANT THAT RECOGNISED IN LAW.
STOP TREATING/MISTREATING US AS SOME KIND OF SUB HUMAN UNDER CLASS.

Yvie - July 31, 2017 at 6:25pm

Why does John state that those in power will do anything to please their voters, and gives the presumption of shared parenting as an example. How does he know this – perhaps those in power who are in favour of shared parenting are so because they believe it is the right course of action for the child.

Paul Apreda - July 31, 2017 at 7:20pm

Gentle readers – why do you worry about John’s comments? As he says – we’re living in a post-truth world…….;-)

Seriously - July 31, 2017 at 10:39pm

Hi John , please accept my challenge, look at my case , give my children a chance to see their father and not be condemned to a life with just their mother. I believed in you , in your options , in your blogs , I believed you before when you said there is no bias , I believed you when you said that one must put their faith in the court , I believe you when you said that LIP must engage with the court , I now no longer a believer can’t even get past a FHDRA, thrown out by a finger wagging judge giving me 10 seconds to talk , and not allowed to appeal without getting the courts permission first !
“Engage” , my Cafcass trained, female social worker , McKenzie friend said she had never encountered such a disgusting situation before and believed a decision had been made before we had even attended the chamber .
Take the challenge please John to read more , e mail me please , my children need help and “engaging with the court” requires lots of money or the skill of a professional to over ride clear bias in the system , especially at lower court level , as most higher court cases are better funded and become high profile. So John don’t be shy , I don’t bite x

Cameron Paterson - August 1, 2017 at 10:51am

I’m afraid John is retired and no longer practices

JamesB - August 4, 2017 at 7:29pm

If you are male and you go to family court in England and Wales, you lose, its unfortunately why so many don’t marry these days. It’s political correctness gone mad.

Andrew posts on here and is a slightly less pro establishment lawyer than the ‘shock jock’ John. Would be better if these courts were open to scrutiny which would prove that the criticism is based on experience not mad people, or at least we weren’t mad before family court. Its political correctness gone mad.

Dr manhattan - July 31, 2017 at 11:22pm

when you say
“Does it matter that there are some who believe falsehoods in relation to the family justice system?”
and
“Who cares what people think? Let them stew in their ignorance”.
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what Falsehoods are you talking about ? give some examples dont just criticize the public.

Paul - August 1, 2017 at 1:09pm

Paul - August 1, 2017 at 1:59pm

One thing is clear as crystal. We all see the truth like a neon sign. This corruption we call ‘family court’ is entrenced. Its sickening abuse. Their goal is to see every house hold in the country without a father. It listens not to reason or evidence. Only question is what are we going to do about it ? If javing a father as a cornerstone in a childs life os what we beleive. Then we must fight the state to maintain it.- blogging all day and heckling John Bolch will change nothing.
Talking to others who have been through the same abuse by the system. Is not going to change anything.
We need to stop thinking like armchair grumblers and think more like revolutionarys.
Only direct action will make the government change this facist system. Our Grand parents fought against facism so we could enjoy personal freedoms. So we had a pressumtion of innocence in court. There are now Nazi’s standing in judgement over us im our courts.
Only question is. At what point do we take up arms ?
Feel free to contact Cameron Patterson and ask for my personal email.
Time to stand up and be counted.

Seriously - August 1, 2017 at 4:42pm

Hi Cameron, I appreciate John is retired , however he may have wished to consider the merits to keep his hand in and to feel the true pulse of the current court system, plus make a positive and real difference to some children’s lives . If John is permanently retired and not wanting to engage not a problem. However , I would appreciate it if you would pass on Paul’s personal e mail address to me , as he has stated as per his reply at 1.59 pm today , that he would like to communicate.

Paul - August 2, 2017 at 3:47pm

The answer to this is YES.
It absolutely matters how our courts are perceived. It absolutley matters that the integrity of our courts is maintained. It abosolutley matters that the courts are not perceived to be 100% bias and predudicial. If you want the courts to maintain integrity and to uphold our values. It absolutly matters that the people you preside over respect the rule of law. Without that respect what you are left with is a state of tyrany.
This country has made a moral choice to stop predudice to make sure that minorities can be heard and have their rights protected.
The rule of law is their ‘To protect the innocent’ as well as to punish those who transgress.
I have read hundreds of accounts from men like myself whos have said they are presumed guilty. Are expected to prove their innocence. They have received convictions without cause. Evidence has been ignored in court when they have presented it.
If that does not ring alarm bells and tell you our system is taking a dangerous slide towards tyrany then I seriously question the motivation of the legal profession.

Dr manhattan - August 2, 2017 at 5:03pm

the motivation of the legal profession is to make lots of Money nothing else.
if they cared about real Justice they would be reporting collusion between Judges and Social workers to the Police.
they dont worry about tyrany as they know it will be crushed by Cops with Automatic weapons reinforced by the Army if needed.

katherine mccourt - August 1, 2017 at 9:31pm

outstanding denial from this man how dare he assume thousands & thousands of parents who have got together for support and help are ignorant. If he thinks fraud perjury & perverting the course of justice in these secret kangeroo courts are the truth he is living in cloud la la land!. There is no due process or parents witnesses allowed and decisions are made before it is heard court is rubber stamping and aiding child trafficking. Children are more likely to be abused in care that is the TRUTH and the very FACT they are taken from good parents is emotional/mental abuse ACTUAL HARM not some crystal ball theory of future emotional harm imagine being jailed for the possibility that you may murder or rob a bank one day based on some dubious so called expert hired skrink who is paid to cut & paste nonsense about you who is paid to assassinate your character that is the family court a fascist regime. The man writing this needs to look in the mirror if he believes there is truth in family court I should know had the misfortune to encounter family court it is an abomination that hurts children for a lifetime, this article disgust’s me.
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Dr manhattan - August 2, 2017 at 1:44pm

Well said katherine.
We all know the Truth about the Corrupt Family Courts and its been revealed by appeal judges time and time again. Mr Bolch is either passionately Biased toward the industry he made a very good living from or he is living in an Alternate state of Reality.
As the X files put it, “The Truth is out There”. ignore it if you like but its not going away and there isnt a carpet big enough to sweep it all under.

BillyO - August 3, 2017 at 5:38am

What a vile article…..
John, if you are indeed one of the industries “top bloggers”, we are in a very sad state indeed.
I have said it before and I will say it again. The “ignorant” people you refer to are not uneducated idiots. Many are professional people of higher standing than the people that make their living from your industry.
We are all real people who have suffered and many that have walked away from the OBVIOUSLY bias family court system.
Please John show some respect and don’t insult our intelligence.
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Dr manhattan - August 3, 2017 at 8:40pm

Nicely put Billy.

Stitchedup - August 4, 2017 at 2:57pm

“The “ignorant” people you refer to are not uneducated idiots. Many are professional people of higher standing than the people that make their living from your industry.”
It really makes you wonder what these people are taught in university / law school. What exactly is it that causes lawyers to think they are so above engineers, scientists, medics etc etc.

Dr manhattan - August 4, 2017 at 9:27pm

“What exactly is it that causes lawyers to think they are so above engineers, scientists, medics etc etc.”
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Mmmmm let me think,… Ego, Supremacy, or just simple insecurity.

JamesB - August 4, 2017 at 4:05pm

Its not easy being the NRP.

I read something the other day that made me think about it. These days men are encouraged to be involved in bringing up children more, yet the divorce law is old and just views them as worthless as parents and gives them lip service to encourage them to tow the maintainence and old gender sterotypes line.

Oh, what I read, was about Dads being present at their children’s birth finding it intolerable leaving them or having them dragged away from them by the state, whereas Dads who were not present didn’t bond as much.

So, my question to the lawyers is which is it? Are we to be involved or not? If I knew what a stich up and how I would feel now I would probably have chosen not to be present at any of the births of my four children. I ask for my sons, I don’t want them to feel like they have had their hearts ripped out as I do by the courts taking away their children for no good reason beyond some vague messed up idea of female progressive rights.

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