Friday, February 01, 2008

Protect the Innocent

I don't know whether it is a requirement that divorcing Taiwanese couples must jointly file divorce documents with the 'Household Registration Office', but it certainly seems like a bad idea to me. The China Post reports today two cases in which the husband assaulted the wife in the course of the filing process. In the first case, the wife was fatally wounded. In the second case, the husband allegedly attempted to murder the wife but was overpowered by a police officer, and that brings me to the point of this post: court security.

All those involved in the family justice system are fully aware of the level of emotion that can be stirred up in family court cases, and that that emotion can often spill over into anger and aggression. Indeed, many cases are concerned with allegations of aggression and violence. I'm sure most family lawyers have experienced that feeling of trepidation as to how a party is going to react to a decision that is not going to go their way. Despite all of this, most family courts in this country have no security whatsoever. If a party were to become violent then the only people to stop them would be the lawyers and court staff. How long before someone gets seriously hurt? I realise that any suggestion that all courts have security staff will fall on the deaf ears of those holding the purse strings, but nevertheless I feel that it should be given consideration.

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