Sunday, 13 March 2016

Paperless family courts

[Christopher Booker]

"From the moment he became head of the Family Division in 2013, he made it clear that he recognised how horribly corrupted our `child protection` system in particular had become; and he began by calling for the ultra-secretive family courts to be opened up to `a gale of publicity`, so that the world could see more of what terrible things were going on there. "

"He made it clear that too many children were being removed from their families without justification, and that taking children into
`care` or for adoption should only be a last resort."

"Munby savaged local authorities and social workers for the way they too often assembled their case for tearing families apart. In particular, he insisted that judges must not rely just on hearsay or unsupported assertions, without giving parents a proper chance to challenge the bizarre allegations that are too often made against them."

"All this was immensely sensible, humane and long overdue."

"But in his recent speech to the Family Law Bar Association, Munby said that, now we have seen his earlier reforms `embedded` with `no backsliding`, it is time for the next step: what has been called the introduction of `entirely digitised and paperless` family courts."

"Out will go all those `bundles` containing thousands of documents, and the laborious verbal presentation of evidence. As much as possible, cases will be conducted electronically. Parents will make their case by filling in an `online questionnaire`, and the judge who `will not need to be in a courtroom will interact electronically with the parties`. "

"What is startling about this is that, for thousands of parents, the most terrifying aspect of falling into the clutches of our `child protection` system is how they find themselves plunged into an inhuman underworld where everything seems rigged against them."

"They may have to listen to what they know to be lies, which they are not able to challenge."

"If they are only to be allowed to `interact with the court electronically`, on an issue more important to them than anything else in the world to be decided by a judge they cannot even see or meet face to face they fear that the system will become more heartlessly dehumanised than ever."

See UK Column 14 March 2016

1 comment:

  1. Child stealing by skype and email said the UK Column on 15 March 2016 in relation to this matter.