Family Law Division, Cafcass, Contact Centres

Bias, Vested Interest, Conflict Of Interest, Lies & Deceit

Why the Family Law Division, Cafcass and Contact Centres need to be put on trial.

All citizens according to their differing needs are entitled to access to justice, whether as victims of crime, defendants accused of crimes, consumers in debt, children in need of care, or business people in commercial disputes. Our aim is to ensure that access is provided as quickly as possible and at the lowest cost consistent with open justice and that citizens have greater confidence in, and respect for, the system of justice.

So says Her Majesty’s Court Service. Except the whole thing is a lie, and especially where families and children are concerned. Yes families have access, but no they do not receive justice.

National newspapers and the media are increasingly reporting the abuse and victimisation of parents by Courts, Social Services, and supporting organisations in cases where the children  are falsely deemed to be abused and / or at risk.

There has also been a sudden explosion of cases of ‘child snatching’ by the State, whereby children have been taken from parents under cover of lies, false evidence and perjury in Court, perpetrated by the very governmental organisations claiming to protect families and children. The UK Column has published lead  articles investigating and exposing this type of abuse by the State, and has been served several Court Injunctions in response - all clearly designed to gag public reporting of events.

National journalists are becoming braver in reporting these stories. Booker of the Telegraph has recently done particularly well, but many journalists warn that their Editorial Boards are either complicit in the suppression of truthful media reporting, or are ‘warned off’ by owners, and the establishment.

But why is the establishment so desperate to keep the the light of publicity from penetrating into Family Court matters? Aside from the basic rule that dirty deeds are usually done in the dark, and Family Courts are closed door, jury and press free zones, the real answer is to protect the guilty. Lets take a look at the Family Law Division and Cafcass - two key players. 

In simple terms, the Family Law Division forms one part of the various specialist law divisions, and it deals with all matrimonial matters in the High Court, including the Children Act 1989 and the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985. A Framework Document sets out the relationship (nee partnership) between Her Majesty’s Court Service, the Chancellor, and the Judiciary. Within this text is yet another declaration for fair, effective and efficient justice, with the support of an independent judiciary in the administration of justice. It all sounds good - ice cream and apple pie comes to mind.

Hand in hand with the Family Law Division and Judiciary comes Cafcass - the “Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service”. Headed by Baroness Howarth of Breckland OBE and Anthony Douglas CBE, Cafcass was set up on April Fool’s Day 2001 under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act. It effectively brought together the family court services previously provided by the Family Court Welfare Service, the Guardian ad Litem Service and the Children’s Division of the Official Solicitor’s Office.  A non-departmental public body accountable to_Tory Michael Gove MP,_Secretary of State for Education, Cafcass claims to work within the strategic objectives agreed by its sponsor department and contributes to wider government objectives relating to children. If this sounds complicated, it is because nothing concerning Family Courts and children is simple or transparent.

Put more simply Cafcass claims to look after the interests of children involved in family proceedings, and to advise the courts on what_they consider to be in the best interests of individual children. This is done by allocating a ‘professional guardian’ for the child and an associated legal representative. These individuals claim to safeguard the safety, welfare and best interests of the child at all times, and to be the ‘voice’ of the child in court. Most significantly Cafcass claims to be “independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies.” Cafcass will, it states, “maintain our independence and objectivity at all times in all circumstances.”

Independence - Essential For Justice, But A Lie, As Family Devision Sign Joint Cooperation Agreement

That re-assuring word “independent” just keeps cropping up. Surprisingly and disturbingly, therefore, the Cafcass website reveals a new Joint Agreement” dated 1 October 2010 signed by Sir Nicholas Wall The President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice and Anthony Douglas CBE Chief Executive, Cafcass.

The agreement includes the following text:

You will see that the thrust of the Agreement is that all involved in the system should work cooperatively to operate the Public Law Outline1 locally within an environment of increasing and complex workloads to make the most of our available resources. In deciding what directions should be made in relation to the work of the guardian, the court will usually hear from all parties and especially the representative of the child and will above all take into account that nothing in the Agreement fetters the responsibility of the children’s guardian independently to represent the interests of the child in accordance with the statute and court rules.

The Agreement is to be monitored by the Ministry of Justice, HMCS and Department for Education.

Cafcass - Conflict Of Interest, Vested Interest But No Independence

If the Family Law Division and Cafcass are operating ‘independently’, how then are they able to sign a joint working agreement to work ‘cooperatively’?

A closer look at Cafcass reveals more. Both the Cafcass Board and the Cafcass Corporate Management Team appear riddled with vested interest and conflict of interest. Individuals are overwhelmingly ex Local Authorities, Social Services, Lawyers, HM Courts Service, Adoption of Children Agencies or Government Advisors. One individual is even a Judge in the Principal Registry of the Family Division. The glaring absence is of any person clearly independent and experienced as an ordinary parent.

For the Agreement to state that “nothing in it shall fetter the children’s guardian in being independent” can only be described as a whitewash. The guardians are anything but independent, and this is a constant theme with parents who have or are suffering child-stealing by the state, or from other abuse in the name of ‘child-protection’. In court cases attended by staff of the UK Column, in a personal not media capacity, the bias of Cafcass guardians, in favour of the Local Authority and Social Service demands, has been unpleasant to watch. Working to keep the child victim out of the Courts at all costs, the mother or father has little chance against the ‘official’ view of the Cafcass guardian and Solicitor. A Judge declared recently “I do not want a 10 year old boy in my Court.” The boy might, of course, reveal the damning truth of what he personally wants, rather than the biased, filtered view of the Cafcass Team.

Cafcass & Contact Centres - Contracts Not Independence

Digging deeper into the child-protection mire, vested interest and conflict of interest are alive and well in the relationship between Cafcass and the Contact Centres - the facilities used to host and control contact between mothers, fathers and children. In Family Courts, Contact Centres are described as independent organisations, who are able to make independent written assessments on ‘contact’ between parents and their children.

Once again the ‘independent’ tag is a lie. Whilst some privately owned Contact Centres do exist, the overwhelming majority are directly contracted to Cafcass Head Office Newcastle upon Tyne, under a European Tendered Framework Contract European Communities EU Official Journal Publication 112/2009. Cafcass are described as the Buyer, for Goods, Works and Services: 85300000 Social Work and related services and 90000000 Other Community, Social and Personal Services. Significantly for mothers, fathers and concerned members of the general public, the Awarding Criteria for the contract is: The most economic tender.

Cheap services, were of course, the theme at the start of this article, where Her majesty’s Court Service declares its intent to provide justice at the “lowest cost.” But the real damage to true justice is that a Contact Centre ‘bought and paid for’ by Cafcass cannot ever be described as independent in fact, or in any aspect of provision of facilities or of assessing familes using the Contact Centre facilities. That Judges, Courts, Cafcass and others continually state their independence in helping families and providing protection for children, is nothing but a lie. A lie in Court is a flagrant breach of Common Law - for a Judge it must surely be a serious criminal offence. Prison comes to mind.

The UK Column has consistently warned that something very nasty is at work in the name of ‘Child Protection’. Child Stealing by the State is one ugly manifestation of this. What the public need to understand is that child stealing and other abuses against parents and children by the State can only take place where openness, transparency and free reporting in Family Court are suppressed. Bias, vested interest, conflict of interest, lies and deceit are best served where true independence of the justice system has been lost. Meanwhile, suffer the little children.