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


Monday, January 21, 2013

Newsround 4

Lots of interesting news over the Christmas  and New Year period. 

Global approach to family law
The reform of family law is a constant source of debate in the UK, and in France it is very much the same situation. Article: Law Society Gazette.

Appointment of President of the Family Division
The Right Honourable Lord Justice Munby appointed as President of the Family Division. Story: Judiciary of England and Wales.

Family judges seek protection from parents in 'unsafe' courts
Dangerously inadequate security arrangements during family cases leave officials vulnerable to attack, say judges. Story: The Guardian.

UK in family breakdown 'epidemic'
The UK has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in the Western world with just two thirds of children living with both parents, according to research by a global development organisation. Story: The Independent.

A view from the litigant in person
"A few weeks ago, I got chatting to a woman in my local pub – let’s call her Susan – who is embroiled in a legal battle in the family courts" Blog:  Law Society Gazette News.

Vive la différence?
Rhona Adams, Partner in the Family Law Team at Morton Fraser explores why Scots lawyers need to be alert to the differences in English law surrounding divorce cases. Blog Morton-Fraser

Young people wish for quicker family justice system
The family justice system should work faster to stop children and young people from suffering “trauma and stress”, according to a group of young people with family court system experience. Story: Children & Young People Now.

GPs in crossfire as separated parents seek access to children's records
Increasing numbers of family doctors seeking advice on whether they should give information to separated parents. Story: The Guardian.

Sharing Mum & Dad
How do parents share the bringing up of their children after they separate? Dispatches investigates the emotive subject of parental access and rights. The Call Kaye programme on BBC Scotland picked up on the subject the following morning (interview  with Tim Lovejoy from 15:30 15/1/13). 

Scottish property tycoon jailed in legal cash battle
Scots property dealer said to be worth £400 million has been jailed for six months after a High Court judge ruled he disobeyed orders to provide financial details to his estranged wife and was in contempt of court. Story: The Herald 

Fast-track court for rape trial
The trial of five men accused over the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in India is to be shifted to a special fast-track court. Story: The Herald

Law Society backs down over reforms to legal aid
The Law Society of Scotland is backing down on protests against legal aid reforms after weeks of court walkouts and a series of high-level meetings with the Justice Secretary. Story: The Herald

Children's tsar: 'Stop sending kids to jail'
Scotland's children's commissioner has called for offenders aged 16 and 17 to be kept out of prison, and the introduction of specialist youth courts to help prevent the creation of "career criminals". Story: The Herald


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Auld Lang Syne

Marie Campbell and Dave Francis originally recorded my preferred version of Robert Burns poem  "Auld Lang Syne"  in 1996.  About 4 years ago  Dave send me the  link to You Tube.  I'm ashamed to say I ignored his email as I'm not a great fan of Sex in the City and it  was a  few months later before I realised the song was featured in part of the soundtrack of the film. It's  very different from the usual rendition and well worth a listen.

Happy New Year and all the best to everyone for the 2013. 


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