Sunday, August 19, 2012

Conspiracy theorists do parents no favours


As we know, there are an awful lot of people out there who believe that the family justice system and all who work within it are involved in some terrible conspiracy against parents. Theories include secret courts stealing children, institutionalised bias against fathers and corrupt lawyers doing anything for financial gain.

Of course, there will always be people who will believe in what they want to believe despite the evidence, and most of them are quite harmless, albeit deluded. However, the family justice conspiracy theorists can do great damage to parents involved in court proceedings relating to their children, particularly public law proceedings. Two obvious examples that spring to mind are:

  • that they are likely to make parents aggressive towards 'the system', in particular social workers, Cafcass officers and the court, which is obviously going to be detrimental to their case; and
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  • that they are likely to make them ignore good advice from 'official' channels, such as lawyers (who are, of course, part of the conspiracy) and government websites, and direct them towards sources of dubious advice.

The purpose of this short post is to point parents involved in care proceedings away from the conspiracy theorists and towards two blog posts that were published this week, both of which contain excellent advice:

Firstly, Marilyn Stowe, fresh from appearing on ITV’s early morning show Lorraine, wrote about How to deal with every parent’s nightmare.

Secondly, suesspiciousminds gives "some brief, practical, non “I’ll sue you for genocide” suggestions" in what should you do if social services steal your children?

Both posts should be essential reading for any parents facing care proceedings.

11 comments:

  1. Yup, good article. Family lawyers should assess if a client has an inclination to think in this way and then nip it in the bug to ensure it doesn't rear it's ugly head at inopportune moments.

    I have to say though....

    The 911 evidence does contain a few interesting titbits ;)

    Thanks for the write up.

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  2. But, but, but ... despite the protestations of the legal profession - of which I am a member and therefore am both well-informed, and foolish enough to try to assess my own experiences, being in possession of testicles - there certainly are a more than minimal number of instances in which disgraceful behaviour by mothers, incompetence and prejudice by CAFCASS and sharp practice by family solicitors is present, and is casually swept aside by "the profession". The mere hint of any activity which would, for example, get a male teacher suspended immediately and would probably be career-ending irrespective of the outcome is a freely-deployed weapon, like it or not.

    I am, thankfully, about as far removed from family law as it is possible to be. However, respected professional colleagues, it is no use dismissing out of hand the accusations that are levelled at us in our respective legal fields. This only adds fuel to the fire and diminishes the already poor reputation of the legal profession.

    Better to beat the so-called deluded by letting in some light, accepting that there are incompetent, biased, and prejudiced people involved in family law and, as with truly incompetent teachers and lawyers, root them out.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure there are some people involved in family law who are incompetent, biased or prejudiced (just as there are in other fields), but that hardly amounts to a conspiracy.

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    2. I for one have seen way too much to have much faith in family law, private or public. I'd be happy to give all the details of what I've seen to the press, but of course there is no transparency, and therefore no accountability in family law.

      It's quite fashionable these days to accuse people of conspiracy theories. When that happens, I think we should be all the more interested in really investigating the validity of those conspiracy theories. Because when interested parties point fingers at so-called conspiracy theorists,that's when you have to be more concerned.

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  3. Hi All,
    Thanks John for your kind comments.
    What I was trying to do in my own post was speak to anyone who may be going through care proceedings, and advise them how best to respond.
    Staying calm, appreciating that social workers have a job to do, when they are taking your baby away wouldnt be my first response, nor I suspect the first response of any parent, but if you ever want the baby back, thats how its got to be. Reading the judgements I can see how judges do sometimes use the parent's understandable distress and anger (and inability to properly express themselves in court so it comes out all wrong) against them. Its vital to stay completely calm and focussed and I tried to reinforce this in my post.
    I dont understand how the specific Nevin situation arose,it seems to have been a gross overreaction by the hospital and I have heard from quite a lot of people who saw the programme that they would think twice about taking a child to hospital if it was simply for a check up and if they thought that it could result in care proceedings. I find that quite alarming and wonder how the Ryder modernisation plans will deal with one expert who has that view and is wrong.
    The Nevins were remarkably free from bitterness, another concern was the length of time that the procedure took. I hope that the Ryder modernisation plan does work, because this is one example of a case where it was desperately needed. The medical evidence such as it was never got challenged before the final hearing, so they had to wait for that to happen before the baby was finally returned to them.
    Marilyn

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  4. Thank you John, interesting that Marilyn and I hit on the same sort of topic at once. I'm certain that care proceedings are terrifying and awful for all parents and there's a lot of bad advice out there. I don't doubt, that as with the Nevins, and the Websters before them, that sometimes awful mistakes are made, and that families pay a heavy price for those mistakes.

    I hope that one of the consequences of the reforms will be that Judges get the time to take a proper detailed look at the facts of a case at a really early stage so that the mistakes can be corrected at a much earlier point. At the moment, the sheer volume of what we expect our judges to read means that nothing is really grasped in detail until a contested hearing takes place.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, SM. Yes, it would be great if judges do get the time to properly look at the facts at an early stage, although without more resources being put in I have to say that I am not optimistic that this will happen. Hopefully, I will be proved wrong.

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  5. just watched oranges and sunshine where british govt colluded in sending 130,000 kids of to australia without parents consent, even up to 1970. states have a history of this kind of thing, from children of reindeer herders in lapland, to mixed race childre on aboriginal in australia and new zeeland.

    the fact is that the law is written by govt who represent interest of benefactors, and the people who they are supposed to represent are seen as human resources of the state.

    the whole idea that the govt somehow has a right over children above and beyond parents says it all.
    of course its for the childrens benefit, when the reality is that they just become prey in the care system, neglect , abuse, disconection from their roots.

    my advice to any parent who has a whiff of social services interference is leave the country as fast as you can.

    ReplyDelete

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