It's Sunday night, and I've just trudged back from the chicken house, eggless and with rain dripping from my nose. I've got a stinking cold and we had to cancel our planned camping trip (combined with visit to Peppa Pig World) with a horde of old and very good friends because of sick children. Oh, and my car broke down this afternoon. Again. And I have a mountain of work to do next week. Woe is me.
On the plus side, we didn't spend a wet weekend in a tent, we didn't spend a day in piggy bliss, illness has transformed a 3 y/o oppositional whirling dervish into a compliant angel child with an amusingly squeaky voice and an only slightly unnerving hug compulsion, and I've already prepped for tomorrow's hearing.
Sadly I have still not been able to find a sufficient chunk of clear time to do justice to part 2 of my Narey riposte, and a number of other intended blog posts have not made it off the "to do" list (although 1 of 2 book reviews is entering the writing phase as I embark on the last chapter). But since it has recently been declared that law bloggers, just like other bloggers are at liberty to make up their own rules (statement of what ought to have been bloody obvious if you ask me) you get a run through of my open browser tabs instead of a traditional format. You lucky lot.
Jon Robins writes in the Observer today about How to represent yourself in court, a topic which it is difficult to do justice to in one page, albeit a spreadsheet sized one. It's a shame that the constrictions of space left the distinctions between family and other civil areas of law somewhat flattened out, which could be potentially confusing.
Tabs 2 & 3
Christopher Booker continues to write in The Telegraph, with his customary fervour: 'Child protection' wreaks havoc on a loving family once again and 'Child protection' tears mother and son apart after 14 years. In the latter Booker describes a "bizarre and disturbing" case involving in essence some kind of international social work grudge match, one which has apparently been carried out "in defiance of the UN Convention on Children’s Rights and a[n unidentified] judgment of the European Court of Human Rights". Clearly the case involves some very concerning features, in particular the attempted suicide of a teenaged boy. But as is so often the case the report begs more questions than it answers. Is it significant, one might wonder that the child refused to speak with professionals shortly after having been spoken to by Booker himself? Is it really the case that social workers would threaten a 14 year old boy with being taken into care for “failure to co-operate”, or is this perhaps a chinese whisper of what social workers may have identified as a concern about the Mother? There is simply no lawful basis upon which a care order, or Hague Convention return order (as this appears to be) can be granted as a punitive measure. Something is very wrong here, but I'm not sure what. I don't know what the reporting restrictions are in respect of children proceedings in Ireland, but if they are the same as in this jurisdiction there is more detail in Booker's report than there ought to be (for example the reporting of oral evidence, if the court has made an order permitting this reporting the article fails to mention this). If this is a Hague application the Father's alleged alcoholism is frankly a bit of a red herring since the order will have been one with the sole purpose of returning an wrongfully removed (abducted) child to his home jurisdiction in order to allow his home court to determine his best interests. But it does give an edge to the story, so whatever. Finally, I'm pretty sure that this 14 year old child is not being "deported" but use of this particular term is apparently tonal rather than legalistic.
As to the former the assertion in essence is of the removal of a child on basically no grounds at all. I can't say whether the account is full and complete, but I can say that if the evidence was as slender as is suggested by Booker it would be highly unlikely for an ICO to have been granted. Booker also asserts that the "court system...often seems rigged against the parents (and the children), to the point where they are forbidden to speak at all except through lawyers who appear as complicit in the system as the social workers themselves". Conveniently forgetting that parents may act in person, may instruct a lawyer of their choice (subject to legal aid deserts natch), may give evidence, and may complain about a representative who refuses to act in accordance with their instructions. And that in any event they are often permitted to speak directly to the court in addition to being represented.
And last but not least, I have an ebay tab displaying an urgent purchase for those wet evening trudges to put the hens to bed safely away from foxy loxy: welly boot stand.