Monday, December 08, 2008

For Better or Worse

As all family lawyers will be well aware, the new powers in relation to contact orders under the Children & Adoption Act 2006 come into force today. Frances Gibb in an article in The Times today suggests that the powers may actually 'worsen parent wars'. She says that: "Family judges have told The Times that the measures, although welcome in principle, could damage tense family relations, rebound on fathers as well as mothers and fetter judges’ discretion." As to the last point, she says that one judge has pointed out that the wording of the powers appeared to indicate that breach of a warning notice would require courts to impose penalties, with no discretion.

On the other hand, the new powers have been welcomed by others, in particular fathers' rights groups, albeit with reservations.

So, will the new powers make things better, or worse? As usual, only time will tell.

[Thanks to Current Awareness for the link to this article.]


  1. In my experience the biggest problem is the parent with care spinning their interpretation on the contact order, believing that their analysis of the details is correct.

    Thats far removed from a blatant breach, which again in my experience doesn't happen as often as the many raised voices claim.

    If breach of the order 'criminalised' the PWC, then tough luck them. They knew the rules and chose to break them. Expect a punishment, just like any other crime. The Courts must be seen to stand by the orders they make.

    I just think it is too easy for them to wheedle their way out of trouble claiming a misunderstanding, the child wanted something different, or the NRP is reading the order the wrong way.

    Maybe a heavy handed beginning would instill a little obedience. Likely that nothing will be much different though and the new powers will sit on a shelf unused.

    Ho hum


  2. Hi Swizz,

    I agree that it certainly won't always be easy to prove a blatant breach.

    As I said in the post, only time will tell whether these powers make a difference, but one can live in hope!


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