Family Lore has alerted me to this curious decision of Lord Justice Wall on permission (RW v SW  EWCA Civ 457 (29 April 2010)). Wall LJ adjourned off a father’s application for permission to appeal to a two judge court notwithstanding the fact that his own view was that the appeal had no reasonable prospect of success, on the sole basis that the father is ‘one of many who feel let down by the system’.
Hmmm…I admire the sentiment – it is important that all groups of litigants in the family justice system should feel that their case has been dealt with thoroughly – but is it right as a matter of principle that those that complain the loudest should get special consideration? Unusually in this case there is no public or private expense in the form of legal costs as the appellant father was in person and the mother (as is usual with permission applications) was not involved at that stage. However there IS a not insignificant expense no doubt to Her Majesty’s Court Service and judicial time is being taken from something else when the permission application has already been thoroughly considered. What if the two judge court disagrees with Lord Justice Wall and grants permission? Would not the Mother have cause to complain that the Father had been given two bites of the cherry? Certainly if the boot were on the other foot there would be uproar about discrimination against fathers.
This judgment makes me uneasy. Thoughts?