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Fire-eating pilot

 

Thank you for coming everyone. As you may know, we have recently been trialling a fire-eating pilot in the Family Courts.  It is very simple – before an advocate addresses the Court on any issue, they must take a stick dipped in oil, set it a light, and plunge it into their throat, extinguishing the fire.  Once that is done, they simply address the Court in the usual way.

 

Q  –  we have some reservations about this scheme

 

That’s disappointing to hear. Have you been to see one of the fire-eating Courts? I’m sure you’d think very differently, if you had.

 

Q – we’re rather puzzled that this scheme seems to have come out of nowhere, with no discussion beforehand or attempts to engage with people who use the Courts to see what they thought

That’s disappointing to hear. Have you been to see one of the fire-eating Courts? I’m sure you’d think very differently, if you had.

 

Q – could you perhaps tell us a little about the safety precautions? For example, what training will we receive in relation to fire-eating?

 

Training is of course essential. I observed some Canadian circus performers undertake fire-eating and it all seems very straightforward. I’m sure you’ll all be able to pick it up

 

Q – did you talk to the Canadians about the safety precautions they used?

 

Oh I didn’t speak to them. I watched a video.  Dip the stick, light it, put flaming stick into mouth. Simple.  None of those circus performers have been injured. That must reassure you all

 

Q – that’s rather dispiriting.  What about fire-extinguishers, for example? First-aid kits in case of burns?  What if the fire catches someone else alight?

 

That’s disappointing to hear. Have you been to see one of the fire-eating Courts? I’m sure you’d think very differently, if you had.

 

Q – could you perhaps tell us the thinking behind the fire-eating Courts? Only, it sort of seems, from the outside, like the intention is to discourage lawyers from doing their job?

 

The pilot has a 70% success rate

 

Q – Could you tell us how you are defining success ?

 

70 per cent. That’s obviously successful, isn’t it? Any number higher than 50 is clearly good, and this is 70. Way above 50.  Wonderful.

 

Q  –  but success as in achieving better outcomes for children? Or running through batteries in Court smoke alarms faster? Or reducing the amount of times lawyers get to their feet? Or thae number of lawyers suffering third degree burns – which I accept many in the wider public would consider a success?

 

70 per cent

 

Listen, all of you seem to just be very negative about this new fire-eating pilot, which is currently being evaluated, but is being rolled out in other Courts whilst we wait for the tedious job of someone sexing up the evaluation to achieve the outcome of it being rolled out nationally.  If you had been to see one of the fire-eating Courts yourselves, you’d feel much more positive. Why, it is almost exactly the same as FDAC, and you all love FDAC, don’t you? Everyone loves FDAC, which is why we’ve designed this to be exactly the same, only with fire.

 

Cue retired District Judge Crichton…

 

 

Brave counsel, asking the Judge on behalf of others whether written submissions might be acceptable in the circumstances

Brave counsel, asking the Judge on behalf of others whether written submissions might be acceptable in the circumstances

 

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/fjc-transcript-of-10th-annual-debate-1-dec-2016-updated.pdf

 

 

It’s coming, it is happening and we almost certainly can’t stop it.  But we must do all we can to make it as safe and fair as possible. Genuine consent – no adverse inferences being drawn from failure to attend one or to reach agreement. No pressure – apparent or unspoken.  Proper adherence to article 6.  Proper judicial reading time.  Clear and easily understood principles about what is confidential and what isn’t  (if we have Judges speaking directly to parents, we need to all know whether the parent can reply in complete confidence or whether their answers are potentially evidence).  We must all speak up when this isn’t happening.   (From my reading into the Canadian model, there are a lot of positive things about it and I think that if it had been introduced here in a careful way with genuine safeguards and protections it could have a lot to offer – but the way this has been imposed without any genuine dialogue about addressing the very real concerns raised by Liz Isaacs QC and Martha Cover and the ALC has to be worrying – as is the obvious underlying motivation that this is a cost-saving device first, foremost and only)

 

 

 

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

5 responses

  1. Of course the Judges are Canadian, a country that prides itself on rationality, calmness, politeness, classlessness, lack of hierarchy. We can replicate that…

  2. As with the Canadian Pension Fund, that owns Cambian/Lifeways, and increasingly more unaccountable, secret learning disabled/ autistic, anything but ‘community living’ provision, see my blog finola moss, making billions in profit from Adult Care Services, and our public money.

    No doubt, I haven’t checked, Canada also invest in the multibillion pound ever growing fostering and adoption industry.

    And lets not forget, as with the USA, which itself, does not allow ABS legal services, our legal services, will soon be owned by Canada venture capital, and maybe soon our courts.

    So, the whole process, from capturing consumers to providing their services – child protection, adult protection, could soon be one seem less cabal.

  3. Our borrowing of this system from Canada, where we take the trappings of the scheme but without any of the actual bits that made it work, makes me think a little of Disney making The Black Hole – ‘Star Wars was a huge hit, it was in space, and it had two robots. Let’s do that, and it will be just as good and popular as Star Wars.’

    There’s a reason that people aren’t making sequels and prequels to the Black Hole.

    (And why the Black Hole figures that I got as unwanted Christmas presents were tortured by Boba Ftt and various stormtroopers)

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