I have written before about the Freeman of the Land phenomenon, last time using a Tom Jones lyric, this time it is Billy Bragg.
It doesn’t tend to work, when you try to use legal gibberish to persuade a Court that they have no power to deal with your case or make decisions.
Her Honour Judge Lynch dealt with this sort of thing very well in Re A Child 2015 (none of this is binding precedent but it is illuminating nonetheless)
The backdrop to this was that very serious findings of sexual assault against the children were made against the step-father, and mother was found to have failed to protect. Criminal charges for these matters are pending against the step-father.
The mother and step-father in this case refused to participate in a social work assessment. An independent social work asssessment was arranged and they refused to participate in that too. They also made various applications in the High Court about the Judge.
Sadly, given how things turned out as a result of this, the mother had started off the proceedings in a much better way:-
At the very beginning of these proceedings the mother filed a statement acknowledging she could not put her head in the sand and needed to engage with the court process. She said that she realised she could not remain in a relationship with her husband due to the findings made against him and she said she was prepared to separate from him and put her daughter’s needs above her own. She said her husband accepted that and indeed he confirmed that in his own first statement.
That would have made her prospects of success at final hearing much better if she could have seen that through.
However, by final hearing, they were refusing to accept that the Court had any jurisdiction over them and the child and – this is a new one on me – they put their Child in Trust. They also refused to name the child. (presumably on the basis that if the child had no name then she did not exist as a legal entity. Wrong)
- Turning to the parents case, I should say at the outset it is very clear to me from the documentation they have filed that they do not accept the authority of this court to make decisions regarding their daughter. The father’s first statement from last July, prepared when he was represented by solicitors, exhibit a document setting out his principles and beliefs, relying on for example ‘Canons from the Canonum de Ius Positivum’. In the final documentation filed by the parents on 23 February they have provided a number of documents written in a quasi-legal fashion and which are not always easy to follow. It is maybe simplest to give a sense of this by quoting from the front page these words : “This skeleton argument is valid assertion of divine, inalienable and natural rights, and all right here asserted and reserved are subject to accepted law through justice as preserved by the Holy Bible, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights, Human Rights Act 1988, Bill of Rights, Lex Mercatoria, Treaty of International Law, Apostolic Letters issued motu proprio by the Pontiff Francis II”. I confess I have found it hard to make sense of their view of authority, their philosophical stance.
- The parents have also, as I understand their documentation, placed their child within family trust – as they put it, “we have settled her entire Legal Estate into a Private Trust”. As I understand it they take the view that disclosing information pertaining to the existence of the child would be a breach of that private trust, which to them includes the registration of their child’s birth.
- I am not going to address these issues in any detail but I am clear that this court operates within the legal structure of this country, is a lawful body, and has power to make decisions regarding this child. I do not accept that purporting to place her within a family trust precludes this court from making orders in respect of her.
The mother concludes in her final document : “Failure of the judge to consider that the Applicant has proven NO valid cause of action against 1st Respondent and the Applicant holds NO LEGAL TITLE and that 1st Respondent gives NO CONSENT to adoption will result in a clear breach of COMMON LAW, CONVENTION RIGHTS, FRAUD ACT, COURT RULES and all necessary laws that prohibit forced adoption and the judge will unfortunately be held personally liable for abuse of public office and the said breaches of any court order authorizing the abduction of 1st Respondent progeny.” [E183] She therefore requires that the child should be immediately returned to the care of both parents or alternatively the case should be transferred to a High Court judge to determine the case.
The Canons stuff is very peculiar if you look it up. http://one-heaven.org/canons/positive_law/ This is not some cobbled together “Property is theft and down with The Man” nonsense – this is something that somebody has put a LOT of effort into. It might very well represent a different and better version of law than that used by sovereign states – I haven’t time to do the analysis.
But it is no more binding law than it would be binding for me to write down on a piece of paper “George Osborne must pay Suesspicious Minds ten million pounds and Suesspicious Minds must be allowed to be in the next series of Game of Thrones and he must be allowed to be tougher than Bronn, Ned Stark, the Hound and Oberyn Martell put together” and expect a Court to enforce it.
The parents declined to give evidence during the hearing. The local authority wished to cross-examine them and invited me to compel the parents to give evidence. I did so direct, warning them of the consequences, but each of the parents refused to give evidence. I have therefore had to look at their written evidence in the light of that refusal.
The judgment is very thoughtful, very careful and very fair. Sadly for this mother, her belief that this mumbo-jumbo would save her prevented her from the reality of her situation, that what she had said at the outset would probably have resulted in the child being with her, if she had stuck to it.
This mumbo-jumbo is dangerous.
You can rail against the law, argue that the law is unfair, campaign to change the law, try to change the law via appeals or lobbying your MP, but you can’t just put your fingers in your ears and say “This law doesn’t apply to me, la la la”