Continuing our undercover investigations into the dark and seemy world of family law, here is another excerpt from the book, the Dummy's guide to being a family court judge, given to all solicitors/barristers and magistrates about to embark on their first sitting in that Alice in Wonderland world of the Family Courts...
Definitions - to make your life a bit easier, we have defined some of the common terms you may come across in your brief attendance in these courts:
Children - These are small versions of adults. You may occasionally have seen pictures of these at home. You may recall that they were the names on the cheques that you wrote on a regular basis in connection with some boarding school or court fine or something. They are the reason given for the court hearings, but in fact that is just an excuse for having a go at their ex-partner in front of you.
CAFCASS - This is the organisation who provide expert opinions on why the mother is the best parent. Their job is to spend lots of time with the mother and get to know her and her reasons for opposing contact. They then write out what she said in their own words and you mostly have to follow their conclusions. Beware! Some CAFCASS officers may suggest that children ought to SEE their father occasionally! In those rare cases, you have the perfect right to ignore their conclusions and find for the mother anyway.
OPEN Courts - This horrific suggestion has largely been ignored by the government. The idea that THE PUBLIC might want to see the unbelievable things that happen in secret in your court is too horrible for words! They might even compare what you say with what other judges say elsewhere and suggest that there is a difference and use it to criticise you, heaven forbid! Don't worry, though, so far only the media are allowed in and none of them are really interested in ordinary cases - only those involving celebs.
More to follow if I get enough views!