Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Best Advert?

With thanks to Add Letters Newspaper Headline Generator, and Charon QCIf there's one thing that's even more mindless than watching fireworks, it's reading the tabloid newspapers. Following on from my last post, the Mail on Sunday today devotes some four pages to Heather McCartney's claims against her husband, including allegations that he beat up his previous wife, Linda. My best advice is to do as I have, and not read it. Unfortunately, it seems many will not follow this advice - the only thing that is sadder than the fact that these allegations have been published is the fact that they sell newspapers.

If there is one good thing that comes out of all of this I hope it will be that the case is the best advert for the modern, conciliatory, approach to family matters - the approach taken here can surely only be a disaster for all concerned, especially the child.


  1. I think it is a shame indeed that the tabloids print this rubbish, but rubbish often sells. The sadness really lies in the fact that there are many many more stories in family law that are much more important but are not reported because often they would lead readers to question decisions made my judges. Such as why in 2004 was a father imprisoned for merely waving at his daughter. Why did a man opt to torch himself when a judge refused to give him any access to his daughter for no more of a reason than the mothers hostility toward father. What would the public say if these stories were in print? I would certainly imagine that the feuding McCartney's would pale into insignificance, but the public are not allowed to know what goes on behind the closed doors of the kangaroo family courts, after all the legal profession must protect itself from critisism at all costs.

    I now notice that comments added to this blog must be approved by the blog will be interesting to see if my comments about the law hiding and protecting itself from critisism hold up. I expect that they may well do but hope that I can be proven wrong. The latest post that I have made on my blog may well be of interest tothe author of this blog as it contains an e-mail from a solicitor and that solicitors views on the system of family law.

  2. Hello again Kenny. With respect, I disagree that 'fathers' rights' stories are not being reported - many have received media attention in recent times. I do agree with you that the system is not perfect, but my experience is that the number of cases where there has been a true miscarriage of justice are, thankfully, comparatively few, and to suggest as you do in your blog that the system is corrupt does a terrible disservice to many professionals who are doing a difficult job in extremely stressful circumstances. I have read Celia Conrad's letter to you although, with respect to her as well, it must be read against the background that she obviously has an interest in selling her book. (You may counter that family lawyers have a vested interest in keeping the system as it is, but we are open to change, even if it is contrary to our interests. For example, many of us have been actively encouraging mediation in recent years - something that, if successful, does us out of work.) She makes no mention of the vast majority of cases where good lawyers have helped clients obtain the result they are seeking. Unfortunately for 'the system' these cases get very little, if any, publicity.

    As for comments being moderated in this blog, I have had to do that in order to prevent possibly defamatory comments being published (it has happened).

  3. First of all thank you for proving me wrong about the moderation of your blog.

    As for my doing a disservice to legal professionals, I speak from my own experiences and my own research. I thoroughly believe that the system is indeed corrupt and would go as far as to say that not only is the system corrupt but that it is also guilty of conspiracy on a regular basis. In support of this point I would point your readers in the direction of this link

    and ask that they scroll to "Here is a letter sent to Victoria Adams (Cafcass) and to Harry Fletcher (NAPO)" They can then judge for themselves.

    As for Celia Conrads book, I can't argue that Celia obviously has an interest in selling her book as this is how she now makes her living after becoming disillusioned with family law.

    With respect John, whilst I take onboard your comments about solicitors being open to change and the issuse of mediation, i must disagree that the mediation process does you out of work, as I believe that there are doors open to solictors to become trained mediators and that solicitors are often running mediation and the practice of law side by side, and therefore I would argue that there is no reason that a practice should lose money through changes to the family law system.

    Judging by your further coments, "She makes no mention of the vast majority of cases where good lawyers have helped clients obtain the result they are seeking. Unfortunately for 'the system' these cases get very little, if any, publicity." I can presume that you have read the book in question. My response to this would be to ask a question, again based on my own experiences and those of others that I have spoken to.

    Again with respect to yourself John, wouldn't it be more accurate to be state that the vast majority of clients whom have been helped to reach the result that they were seeking, have actually attained the result that the said lawyers have told them that is the best result that they could hope for, rather than the result that they would determine to be an ideal one?
    I shall be reviewing Celia Conrads book on my own blog in the next few days and would invite any responses from yourself or your readers

    Finally,thanks for letting me air my views on your blog. I would certainly be more than pleased to have you or any of your readers make comments on my own blog and can give you my assurance that any comments left on my blog will never be edited or deleted.

  4. You are right that a number of family lawyers are also trained mediators, but even if they are, the remuneration that they receive for that work is likely to be considerably less than they would receive for acting as solicitor for one of the parties. In any event, support for mediation is only one example of lawyers supporting change that does them out of work.

    As to your question, it is true that some clients have unrealistic expectations - it is the lawyer's duty to remain impartial, and advise them accordingly. One must remember that there are two sides to every story, and that what the client considers to be ideal may not be best for the child.

    You have clearly had a bad experience of the system and I can therefore understand your strong feelings, but I repeat that the number of cases where there has been a true miscarriage of justice are comparatively few, not that that is any reason to be complacent.


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