Monday, July 30, 2007

No bias here

The Judgement of Solomon, PoussinOn a number of occasions since I started this blog I have heard from fathers' rights campaigners who have expressed the opinion that the system, including solicitors, is completely biased against them, a view that I do not accept. Well, here's a recent case that may make some rethink, found in an article written for Family Law Week by John Tughan of 9 Gough Square. In Re C (Residence Order) the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by a mother against an order transferring residence of the child to the father, after she had refused contact between the child and the father since October 2003, resulting in the father becoming a 'virtual stranger' to the child. The Court of Appeal stressed the importance of courts acting robustly in cases of failing and/or failed contact.

Transfer of residence to the other parent is one of the most serious weapons in the court's armoury against parents refusing to allow contact. I accept that it is rarely used (partly because it is not always practical, for example where the 'absent' parent is in no position to look after the child full-time), but if it became more widely known that the courts are prepared to make such orders, then more parents will obviously be discouraged from disobeying contact orders.

[I've not found a report of this case, but if I do, I'll give the citation, and a link, if it's online.]

[Edit: Thanks to bloody relations for the citation, C (A Child) [2007] EWCA Civ 866, and a link to the report, here.]

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