Committal again

Genuine Question :

Is THIS report in the Daily **** (I cannot bring myself to type its name) “Secret court jails father for sending son 21st birthday greeting on Facebook after he was gagged from naming him” (riddled as it is with obvious misstatements of the law in the real world and bound loosely together by hyperbolic nonsense)

connected in any way to the emergence this week of THIS new supplementary PD on Committals in Family Proceedings less than a month after the last one (relating to Family and CoP proceedings – see earlier post in which it also appeared there was a back story)??

h/t to @thesmallplaces who pointed out the news report, at which my mind duly boggled, but given the overall *cough* quality of the report I rather took it with a pinch of salt, assuming that it would be unlikely to have been reported in any event as it was County Court proceedings – although I note that on 13 May 2 judgments in unrelated County Court committal proceedings were published on BAILII: North Tyneside Council v Kornas [2013] EW Misc 4 (CC) (13 May 2013) and North Tyneside Council v Kornas [2013] EW Misc 5 (CC) (13 May 2013), so it does happen.

In the event that a judgment does appear on BAILII in the wake of this perhaps someone can post a comment to update?

I note from the PD that it is now expected that robes will be worn in all committals – perhaps I will get my six hundred quid’s worth out of it after all (notwithstanding my obvious brilliance I don’t spend all my time in the Court of Appeal you know). Invariably in my experience (admittedly not recent) you drag ’em along just incase, and endure 10 minutes of itchy forehead only to be told to take the fancy dress off as soon as the hearing begins.

PS The PD can also be found on BAILII here.

23 thoughts on “Committal again

  1. Matt o’connor has never been subject to section 97 and can do as he wants in regards to that law.
    Until the LCJ decides to jail him for his breeches then surely others are immune ?

    • Others are not immune – as the cases I linked to demonstrate. Can’t comment on Matt O’Connor I’m afraid, owing to privacy rules and an utter lack of interest.

  2. It is easier to write the name of the (news?)paper in question if you insert Hate between the first word and the second.

    I remember doing an application in a County Court for a chap whose ex-partner would not let him see their little girl, four at the time; this was c. 1981 and the application had to be under GoMA 1971.

    JUDGE: Are we in Chambers?
    COUNSEL: Yes, your Honour.

    Judge takes his wig off. So do counsel. Parties just look puzzled.

    That case had a nice turn-out. The judge remarked that fathers who wanted to be involved made a welcome change, there was no reason why he should not see her, he did not buy the argument of the mother (read: the Law Centre she had gone to) that the father was trying to control her, and if the parties could not agree some times he would impose some. And they managed, once a week, place and hours agreed.

    About a year later, having left the firm, I was on the bus home when I saw the mother, on her own, and she recognised me and was perfectly friendly. So I said “Look, forgive me, none of my business, but I’ve left that firm and will never see your child’s father again – if you don’t mind my asking, how did it turn out?”

    “Oh, it’s fine, he picks her up from school whenever he wants and gives me a break, weekends too sometimes, I can’t think why I let them talk me into saying no . . . ”

    It’s not often that you learn how it ends, and even less often that it’s that pleasing when you do.

  3. I read the supplementary guidance as being just simply that on a practical basis, courts wanted to know – what do I put on the notice, who is entitled to have a notice and do advocates have to robe up?

    There’s nothing substantial enough in it to mean that it is a reaction to a particular case, in my opinion.

    As for the Daily Mail, well yes, if the facts of the case bear any resemblance to their reporting of it, then it is an outrage and the decision would have been overturned on appeal. Cough.

    I generally have little trust in what the Press report as having happened in court proceedings, and still less this year.

    I remember a very long ago case in which two children in care were being accused of murder and there was a criminal trial. I had had to spend a LONG time with all of the documents and knew it extremely well. So when pretty much all of the Press reported that the children had been influenced greatly by watching “video nasties” and particularly Chucky 2, this puzzled me as it wasn’t in their police interviews, their statements, their evidence, put to any witness in the criminal trial, or raised in any mitigation or pre-sentence reports and simply wasn’t an issue at any point in the case.

    In fact, they had been asked in interview whether they had ever watched any horror movies and they said that they had not.

  4. “Make it short, make it simple, make it up”

  5. Northern Lights

    Ah, the DM; the newspaper for folk with no thumbs.

    There are a few of these songs about but I do like a bit of ukelele. Some verses are better than others. Maybe Lucy would be kind enough to turn it into a live link- I’m useless at that kind of thing.



  6. “riddled as it is with obvious misstatements of the law in the real world and bound loosely together by hyperbolic nonsense)”

    Typical abuse of an excellent paper and surprisingly since you are a lawyer familoo completely lacking in facts to back up said abuse !
    Where are there any misstatements? Where the hyperbolic nonsense? The fact is the man was jailed for naming his 21 year old son on facebook wishing him a happy birthday.
    Now that is a fact so why not dispute it if you can rather than hurl teenage abuse willy nilly at those exposing legal absurdities ?

    • Ian, the LAW as stated in that article is just WRONG. I have not commented on the accuracy of the FACTS, merely the hyperbolic tone. But if the accuracy on facts is anything like the accuracy on law it would have been a valid criticism to have made. If the facts are as stated (even ignoring the inaccuracies on law) then it is very concerning. That wasn’t what my comment was about however.

      I’m not sure you why you think a criticism of an article for getting the law wrong warrants the description of “teenage abuse”. The teenage me would have given you a more colourful response.

  7. Lucy,with all due respect,I am astonished that after two detailed contributions from you to your own site you still persist in saying that the Daily Mail has wrongly stated the law concerning the father jailed for wishing his 21 year old son a happy birthday on facebook still without pointing out either where they err or what the correct version of the law should in your opinion be.I use the term “teenage abuse” because to criticise without being in the slightest bit constructive is more typical of a teenager that an intelligent and respected solicitor !

    • As a general rule Ian I don’t think that I have to justify my opinions to you, but I generally do so as a courtesy. However, on this occasion it is made rather more difficult since the Mail have removed the article in question (perhaps for “legal reasons” – who knows?). From recollection there was a suggestion that the parents had brought a “private care application” which is something not known to me. I think it was probably a garbled reference to a s37(2) ICO off the back of a s37 report in private law proceedings but a non-lawyer would have had no hope of unpicking it. There were other incorrect references to the law but I can’t remember what they were. Anyway Ian I’m sure with your experience of the ins and outs of the Children Act the errors are ones which you would be able to pick out, if only the article hadn’t been mysteriously removed.

      As to “constructive” – again, I don’t think I have an obligation to be be constructive, although I hope I generally am. By the way, I am neither a solicitor nor universally respected. Since my teens I have come to terms with both.

  8. Since you have “forgotten “where you thought the MAIL erred in law can you at least admit familoo that noone in their right mind could think it right for a father who lives with his son to be jailed for wishing him a happy birthday on facebook ?Talk about a police state…….

    • Ian I haven’t “forgotten”. I’ve forgotten. Believe it or not I didn’t take a note of all the legal errors in the article and it is now unavailable. I can’t comment on the case as I don’t have all the details. I think you are directing your anger at the wrong person.

  9. I am certainly NOT angry with you Lucy ! I do feel angry with a judge who in the absence of any other explanation (no secrecy surely when a man is jailed?)has put a man in prison who has harmed noone,and for what must be at best a triviality .

  10. Ian,
    The problem with the Daily Mail as a source of information is its tendency to omit, elide, or simply (it would appear) accept the stories offered by their sources as a true and accurate account. Combine that with the relatively casual blurring of news and comment and what you wind up with, regrettably, is an unreliable source.

    If you were looking for an example, one recent example that springs to mind is the Maddocks case. If you read, for example http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2313760/Wanda-Maddocks-Jailed-secret–trying-rescue-father-care-home-believed-die.html this article in the Mail and compare it to the http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/COP/2012/B31.html judgment was published on BAILII, two very different pictures emerge.

    In the Mail article, it appears to be a gross injustice. By the time you’ve read the BAILII judgment (pausing, perhaps, to wonder why the Mail didn’t mention all the details of the judgment, or indeed that the judgment is publicly accessible on BAILII under the parties full names and provide a link to it…) you will, at the very least, have a different picture of events.

    So, leaving aside the story that prompted the whole debate (which has subsequently vanished), I hope that has at least cleared up why many people are reluctant to regard the Daily Mail as an accurate source of information.

    I should add, it is a pity. There are issues around committal and the limits on speech in family and CoP proceeedings that ought to be subject of a sensible, evidence-based discussion. The Mail just doesn’t seem to be a reliable source for that evidence.

  11. To refresh your memory Familoo !

    Secret court jails father for sending son 21st birthday greeting on Facebook after he was gagged from naming him
    [edited]

    • Ian, I’ve taken the view that the DM have probably removed the article from their site for some substantial reason, and this may be for a legal reason unknown to us (for instance if proceedings are ongoing and publication has been noted to be a breach of s12 AJA 1960 or some injunctive order has been issued). In the circumstances I don’t think it’s appropriate to publish your comment which contains the entire contents of the previously published article.

  12. jim,I read the long and windy judgement in the Maddox case and in my opinion it vindicates the Daily Mail in every respect.The orders M/s Maddox are suposed to have broken ;themselves violate the Human Rights Act Articles 8 and 11
    and are a disgrace to British justice.Orders that stop contacts between non criminal family members are a disgrace whether between one parent and another,or between parents and children.The judges should be locked up for th breaking the very laws they have sworn to enforce !

  13. Fair enough Lucy as I really sent it to remind you of those items you had forgotten(no inverted commas this time) and to give you personally the opportunity to show me just how it was “riddled with errors”.I would read any points you make with an open mind !

  14. Ian,
    Oh go on, I’ll bite.

    “I read the long and windy judgement in the Maddox case…”

    That’s 2161 words on BAILII as against 2705 in the Mail. I presume you didn’t finish the Mail article if you couldn’t cope with a judgment that was 80% shorter…

    “…and in my opinion it vindicates the Daily Mail in every respect.

    You mean aside from the Mail declining to mention the bit in paragraph twelve about Ms Maddocks refusing to accept service by refusing to have the documents put through her letterbox? Twice. I mean, fine, but you rather forfeit the right to complain about the fact that neither you or your solicitor were there if you voluntarily chose to absent yourself.

    Or the bit in paragraph 9 where she the abusive (and, dependent on one’s stomach for these things, mildly threatening) voicemails? That didn’t make it into the Mail, did it. Or, come to think of it, the fact that the entire bloody judgment is on BAILLI (flatly contradicting the claims in the article) with everyone’s names on it. To claim otherwise (as the Mail does, in the tenth paragraph) is quite simply wrong. No debate.

    The short point being, the judgment most certainly doesn’t vindicate the Mail’s reporting of the facts. It does rather the opposite.

  15. Genuine Question :

    Is THIS report in the Daily **** (I cannot bring myself to type its name) “Secret court jails father for sending son 21st birthday greeting on Facebook after he was gagged from naming him” (riddled as it is with obvious misstatements of the law in the real world and bound loosely together by hyperbolic nonsense)

    Well Lucy,I still have not heard from you of one error in the birthday card case ;I sent it to you because you could not remember any of the errors with which you claimed it was “riddled” !
    In switching to the Maddox case you claim that “I did not finish reading either the judgement or the Mail story” I wonder where you got that idea from? It was an error of course!
    Of course the Mail was vindicated.This woman was locked up for 6 weeks for taking her father to see a lawyer for advice as to how he could legally escape from the care home where he was being held against his will.A disgraceful punishment for breakin a court order which itself breached several human rights articles and was therefore both inhumane and illegal.The secrecy was only broken when the Mail applied to the judge to break it and all proceedings in the Court of Protection still remain secret unless the judge later decides otherwise.
    Lastly your 2705 words mostly apply to the birthday card case ;as the version you refer to as riddled with errors almost exclusively deals with the birthday card case and the Maddox case is little more than a footnote;
    Did you realise there were two separate cases ?

    • I think Ian you are referring to someone else’s comment on the Maddox case, not mine. I appreciate there are two cases. I haven’t responded to your invitation to engage in respect of the errors partly because I have deleted the article when editing and partly because I have better things to do. Can you give it a rest. We disagree.

  16. There is a digest on Lexis of this case Re M [2013] All ER (D) 253 (May) – which is a facebook committal. No actual judgment available. It looks like it might be the same one? In that case the Father had been aware of the committal hearing and chosen not to attend. His appeal was dismissed. The committal order was a suspended one, made in May 2013.

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