Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Parental Alienation Awareness

A week or so ago reports of a  "new" Canadian case   circulated on Facebook  and fathers groups about a mother who lost custody for alienating a father along with criticism that the courts in the UK do not recognise Parental Alienation. This is  in the run up to Parental Alienation Awareness Day in April. The case was reported  by the Toronto Star here  in  2009 and I can only assume it was meant the story had just come to the notice of fathers groups and parental alienation campaigners.  

It isn't true that courts in the UK don't recognise Parental Alienation.  There have been a number of cases where the courts have recognised PA when it has been supported by  evidence from expert witnesses,  but of  of course children resist contact for may reasons and  there is no general agreement yet  about Parental Alienation. Nick Child, family therapist and retired psychiatrist summarises  the  current thinking about PA here


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bedroom Tax Petition

There is growing concern in Scotland over the introduction of the Bedroom Tax  in April 2013  cutting the amount of benefit that  tenants of working age can get if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom in their council or housing association home.  According to the  The Herald  people are expected to  find  the extra by working, working more  hours,  taking in a lodger or to find smaller homes.  However the DWP say there are not enough one bedroom homes and critics anticipate there will be a rise in people getting into debt eventually leading to evictions or renting in the private sector increasing benefit bills.  This UK Government welfare reform will effect people like this women who is disabled and regularly provides a home to her  mentally ill daughter. Also effected will be a number of  separated parents  who live on their own and have their children staying for  overnight contact. 

Solicitor Mike Dailly of the Govan Law  Centre has raised a petition   calling  on the Scottish Parliament to amend the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 "to prevent social landlords from using rent arrears caused by under occupation housing benefit deductions in eviction actions, and instead requiring such under occupation arrears to be pursued as an ordinary debt." The petition is available here should anyone wish to sign.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Legal Aid Restrictions for Bar Reports

Last week the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) announced new restrictions  on legal aid for Bar Reports.  A Bar Reporter is commissioned to investigate a child's circumstances and to report to Child Welfare Hearings. For reports after 18th February 2013 the cost payable to a Bar Reporter instructed  to carry out these reports will be limited to £3000 (excluding  VAT and outlays). The limit will not apply in privately funded cases. 

Source SLAB Update


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scottish Research: Legal System May Favour Fathers

According to The Herald a study by the Centre for Research into Families and Children at Edinburgh University shows 8% of children in contact disputes in family courts in Scotland are compelled to visit or stay with a parent who is alleged to have committed domestic abuse. The report by Dr Kirsteen Mackay shows rather than the  system being biased against dads, the reverse may be true, with the system favouring fathers over mothers. The study, Hearing Children in Court Disputes Between Parents, calls  for   more specialised training for sheriffs, court reporters and solicitors in dealing with children. 

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships briefing is available here.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Burns Night - Keep Nodding


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