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Child-friendly judgment and end to alphabet soup?

I took a bit of time off the blog in the early part of lockdown, meaning to come back to writing once lockdown lifted, and it was only when I got an email from a friendly reader checking up on me that I realised it has been nearly nine months of radio silence. So sorry, and I’m back, sort of. Or at the very least, to quote both Mark Twain and Kerr Avon, “Rumours of my death have been much exagerrated”

I’ve long been a fan of Judges who produce child-friendly (and often adult-friendly) judgments. The sheer amount of “I must remind myself of” and “I take into account, as I must” that Re B-S forced us to insert into judgments purely to avoid appeal points has had the unintended consequence (another of this blog’s Grand Themes) of making them long and impenetrable to the people who most need to understand them.

This is a judgment that addresses the children directly, and in publishing it, the Judge allowed the children to select their own names. I think that’s an excellent idea, and so much better than the alphabet soup of “B” and “J”

As was pointed out to me on Twitter, you do presumably need some mechanism to prevent the more mischievous child from polluting Bailii with Boaty McBoatface and MySister Smellsofoldcheese 2020, but I’ll happily put that on the shoulders of the Guardian for now.

Anyway, here’s the judgment, which is written very nicely. It takes a lot of effort to speak plainly – back to Mark Twain again and apologising for the length of the letter because the author didn’t have enough time to make it shorter.

Take a bow Miss Recorder Henley, a judgment so nicely written that it forced me to shake off my torpor and scramble to find my log-in to the blog.

Robin-Simmers and Adrien (Children : Care Order) [2020] EWFC B52 (12 November 2020) (

Hope all of you are well, and I hope to see you on the other side of this most peculiar of years.


About suesspiciousminds

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

6 responses

  1. Nor Mark Twain! According to Gloster J – as the Bard says, a learned judge – in the 555th and last note to her monumental judgment (490 pages) in Berezovsky -v- Abramovitch it was Blaise Pascal, in his 16th Lettre Provinçiale of 4 December 1656

  2. So good to have you back! I was about to email you too to check on you.

  3. Good to see the posts are back
    Sent from my iPad

  4. What a thing of utter beauty. And some evidence between the lines that counsel and various others remaining unsung have handled the litigation as one would hope it should be handled.

  5. Te judge never asked the children if they wanted to go home to their mummy and daddy;So much for “hearing their views” etc !
    Of course the parents had to “admit” to abusing their children as they were probably rightly advised that the only way to discharge the care order (now that an appeal was way out of time)was to accept the decisions of the previous court and prove a significant change of circumstances;
    I have myself previously advised similar parents (who swore they were innocent) to admit their guilt to please the judge and occasionally it worked and they got their kids back !
    Sad isn’t it that these children could choose false names but were not allowed to testify or openly say what they wanted?

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