There are lots of bits of family law that I like – wrestling with the LSC and prior authority is not one of them, I have to say. Of which, more probably later.
But I think, even as a long-standing local authority care lawyer, these are my two favourite extracts from judgment (even more than Kent County Council v G saying “you can’t make the LA pay”… )
Lord Templeman in Re KD 1988 “The best person to bring up a child is the natural parent. It matters not whether the parent is wise or foolish, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, provided the child’s moral and physical health are not in danger. Public authorities cannot improve on nature”
and building on that, Lord Justice Headley in Re L (Care threshold criteria) 2006 “Society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent. It follows too that children will inevitably have both very different experiences of parenting and very unequal consequences flowing from it. It means that some children will experience disadvantage and harm, whilst others flourish in atmospheres of loving security and emotional stability. These are the consequences of our fallible humanity and it is not the provenance of the State to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting. In any event, it simply could not be done. … It would be unwise to a degree to attempt an all embracing definition of significant harm. One never ceases to be surprised at the extent of complication and difficulty that human beings manage to introduce into family life.”
I happen to think that those two sentiments are very sound building blocks for a system of family justice, and a starting point that the State intervene only when to not do so would be harmful to the child. I’m not sure those sentiments will necessarily hold sway in ten years time, as we move towards cheaper and quicker justice, with fewer questions being asked, but I hope to be wrong.
The blog is going to be about law, and an unhealthy fascination with the detail of it, and occasionally the politics of it; as they pertain to child protection law. It will often be with a local authority slant, though I hope I’ve said enough above to convince you that it isn’t going to be any Daily Mail “adopt-em-all and throw away the key” tirade.
The name of the blog is a combination of healthy scepticism, an unquenchable desire to impersonate Roland Gift singing that particular Elvis song, and a lifelong love for Dr Suess. Thanks for reading…