PRESIDENT’S LAW, LOPSIDED LAW

FC-Day-43President’s View No 9 has emerged; and it tells us only that ‘private law’ – by which he means children law proceedings, other than care proceedings – is next under the microscope for reform. This still leaves all other areas of family law (outside children proceedings) to be considered; what most of us would call ‘private law’. The purpose of the unified system of Family Procedure Rules 2010 was that areas of law should not be ghettoised in this way.

This President is developing authoritarian tendencies, which are genuinely disturbing. In this he is an administrator; yet he ignores the most basic of administrator’s responsibilities. I understand, he is impervious to the regressive state of affairs that this creates; and the dangers for a lopsided version of the law developing. The following is the litany of arbitrary law ‘reform’ thus far: his own transparency guidance of 16 January 2014; the ‘guidance’ – misguidance would be more appropriate a term – issued by Mostyn J (with the President’s approval) in UL v BK (Freezing Orders: Safeguards: Standard Examples) [2013] UKHC 1735 (Fam); and the negative rubbishing of magistrates by Pauffley J in Re NL (A Child) (Appeal: Interim Care Order: Facts and Reasons) [2014] EWHC 270 (Fam).

As Pauffley J said in Re NL it must stop; but now it is the President who must please stop. These emissions are illegal: a future note will explain why (or, in the meantime, see Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government v Bovale Ltd and anor [2009] EWCA Civ 171).

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