Family Law Lawyers and Judges are violating our most cherished human rights.
Too often in the family justice system, and elsewhere, we see judges applying their discretion to tailor the law, not to suit the parties that come before it, but to exorcise personal frustrations. Judges sometimes forget they are there to serve. But they should be reminded.
“Open Letter to Barack Obama”
Judges are considered to be cornerstones of society, upholding the most decent and free-thinking modes of thought, the most sophisticated thinkers, a little like modern-day philosophers. But all too often, they are simply just time-short, temper-short and short on perspective. And most importantly perhaps, judges who seek to change the way society functions on a political level are blurring the lines between the judiciary and the executive. And that too, creates conflict of interest and can have devastating consequences for justice.
So, how do we change that? How can we manage the necessary boundaries and make sure our judges function professionally?
One suggestion might be to have an organisation that reviews and monitors each judge’s cases – not all of them, but perhaps just one case a year, so that fairness can be monitored and quality assurance verified. And if a party complains about their case, there should be a proper complaints procedure in place, to allow for a proper investigation.
It might also be useful to have a directory of judges and their views on things like heterosexual marriage, divorce, child welfare and more, biographies about each judge, their financial interests and which groups and organisations they belong to. Transparency would be achieved in this way and it would go some way to help restore trust and confidence inside a system which is sorely lacking it.
Yes, judicial bias is always going to exist: but it can be managed and justice can prevail.
This episode provides the rare privilege of hearing from an outspoken retired family court judge from Alberta who spent 22 years resolving all kinds of parental disputes. We will have a frank and candid discussion and I have invited him to unleash his most forthright insights into the family justice system. He will also tell us why he left the court in 1997 to pursue what he believes is a much healthier and effective way to help parents resolve their conflicts.