Sir Paul climbs back on his hobby-horse

Sir Paul Coleridge
Sir Paul Coleridge is at it again. To coincide with 'Divorce Day', he has announced that he is launching a foundation "to defend marriage and reduce of the "scourge of society" of family breakdown".

According to this article in The Telegraph, he told The Times that: "Marriage, as the best structure in which to raise children, needs to be affirmed, strengthened and supported." He therefore "plans to open a Marriage Foundation at a cost of £150,000 a year to lobby for family-friendly policies, hold seminars and commission research into strengthening marriage."

Other family law luminaries involved in this latest attempt to turn back time are the three wise Baronesses: former President of the Family Division Baroness Butler-Sloss, chairman of the Bar Standards Board Baroness Deech and lawyer to the rich and famous Baroness Shackleton.


  1. A cynical, jaundiced, observer (like me) could say that as one of *the* legal Coleridges, Justice Coleridge knows all about the past value of marriage as a means of helping to provide opportunities and advantages for family members and that he now thinks that that particular benefit is threatened.

    Even more cynical and jaundiced people are also implying that Justice Coleridge"s pronouncements are in someway connected with the possibility of him throwing his wig in the ring for the Presidency of the Family Division - surely not ;).

  2. Well, I wouldn't know about such things, not being cynical or jaundiced... much.


  3. Hmmm, yet more glib assessments from Sir Coleridge.

    Wouldn't the money be better spent on helping parents create and maintain suitable contact arrangements following a divorce or separation?

    Better yet, donate the money to scientists who can create glasses that allow their wearer to view the world in black and white. That way Coleridge can pretend it’s still the 1950s.

  4. 150 grand they could spend on legal aid or something minor like that.

  5. The above correspondents are certainly cynical and jaundiced.

    What would you prefer?

    A judge who thought that it is actually GOOD that it is easier to get a divorce than a driving licence?

    And what of the effect upon children of divorce?

    Don't care?


  6. The point is that even if it were true that "marriage is best", you can't turn back the clock.

  7. You could,
    1. Put child maintenance back to the courts.
    2. Abolish 'Unreasonable Behaviour' as grounds for Divorce.

    To side with the Judge in this as I think the commentary thus far has been unfair to him and if given the choice I would side with his POV, given the society created (e.g. London riots) by absent fathers.

    So, to an extent, yes, you can roll back the clock. Such as repeal of the corn laws, poll tax, etc.

    I wish they would do the 2 above and give him the Presidency. Then, well, noone would get married ;-), but, there's a nice thought.

  8. At least then we would have truly 'agreed' rather than 'imposed' divorce settlements.

    I do think if you did those 2 things would be good, and also had tax break for married people and legalised pre nups. Everything would be wonderful again, just like the 50s.

  9. Yes, David, everything was wonderful in the 50s. Especially for all of those thousands of couples trapped in unhappy marriages and, of course, their children.

  10. i do hope we'll be re-criminalising abortion while we're on this back to the future lark.
    that will teach those scheming girls getting pregnant just so they can have the pleasant experience of dying of septicaemia.
    i'm sure there weren't so many of them black fellas around in the 50s either. and now we seem to be imprisoning people for killing them. the world has gone mad and i'm off to wrap myself in the daily male and set fire to myself outside buckingham palace. mind you even the royals are what they used to be. couldn't see them supporting fascism for a start. tsk tsk.
    and don't get me started on the queers!

    ian sane
    tunbridge wells

  11. Thanks for that eminently sensible response, Ian.

  12. Yeah, and lock up Graham Norton, Paul O’Grady, and Julian Clary
    and half the bbc for Sodomy while we're at it!

    Colonel Digby-French, Hants.

  13. the thought of criminalising abortion scares the heck out of me and puts what little hair I have left on end.

  14. john - i am worried that you are allowing comments from someone who is clearly foreign and urge you to ban this digby-french wallah pronto. he also strikes me as a dangerous liberal who believes half the bbc are not indulging in sodomy.

    yours in sanity

  15. Something tells me this discussion may be wandering off topic...

  16. what's wrong with a bit of sodomy?

    ok - fair point. will try to concentrate in future.
    bad bad sw...

  17. Is that an open invitation sw?

  18. I remember Coleridge gave a speech to lawyers in which he lamented the decline of the authority of the court in enforcing contact orders and the increasing trend of burdening children with decisions about contact. He had a point and it needed to be said.
    This is just depressing however and reads like the kind of "back to basics" claptrap we associate with certain politicians.
    A marriage will fail or thrive depending on the attitudes and behaviour of the parties and nobody wants to see spouses and children trapped by legislation in a relationship gone sour. We don't need to hear this from the judiciary.

    Don't believe that Daily Mail nonsense about the riots and absent fathers either. Riots happen in societies with very traditional family structures, no welfare state and police who are happy to shoot the participants.

  19. Well to be fair to him, as an institution it is in decline and if people still believe in it, then it is the time to stand up for it, and for that reason I back the Judges comments.

  20. i believe the practice of fox hunting is in decline as well. i ain't gonna go and start supporting that either.


Post a comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. Constructive comments are always welcome, even if they do not coincide with my views! Please note, however, that comments will be removed or not published if I consider that:
* They are not relevant to the subject of this post; or
* They are (or are possibly) defamatory; or
* They breach court reporting rules; or
* They contain derogatory, abusive or threatening language; or
* They contain 'spam' advertisements (including links to any commercial websites).
Please also note that I am unable to give advice.