Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chaos and regrets

BBC NewsTwo BBC news stories caught my eye today:

Firstly, Judge Paul Collins tells Radio 4's Law in Action programme that the county courts system is 'in chaos', due to low pay and staff shortages. The report doesn't mention that the county courts deal not only with civil cases but also with most family matters, including divorce. I have certainly experienced mistakes being made, and huge delays in dealing with paperwork. As the judge points out, the problem is being exacerbated by fewer people getting legal aid, and therefore representing themselves. It is interesting that the report states that last year the income the courts received from fees exceeded their costs, and the surplus was spent on other services. This makes the fees a type of taxation - what is the rationale for court users paying a tax? Surely (and obviously) the full income from fees should be put into the courts system.

The other story is a video interview with Louise Campbell, the mother of Molly Campbell/Misbah Rana, who recently gave up her application for custody of her daughter. The most interesting thing about this to me is that she expresses her regret at bringing her children up as Muslims, wishing she had let them decide the matter when they grow up. I agree entirely - it is surely wrong to teach a child that one faith is better than another, and it is obviously a nonsense to describe a child as a 'Muslim child' or a 'Christian child', just as it would be a nonsense to describe the child of a communist as a 'Marxist child'.

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