What the secret imprisonment of Wanda Maddocks has shown is that an anonymous judgment does not tell you everything about a case. The Daily Mail wrote more about the case today. I do think the wider issue will also have more attention in the future.
This is a story about a woman who was initially tried in absentia and then imprisoned in secret for the "crime" of taking her father to see a lawyer in Birmingham.
This really is not on. There is complacency in government about this sort of thing.
I suppose I have a disadvantage when considering legislation relating to the internet. Perhaps I know too much about how things work. There are still traces on the internet of work I did on https in 1995. Although the allocation of the port 465 for an SSL implementation of SMTP was provided by IANA at my request as you can see from This page this was made defunct later by the introduction of STARTTLS which is to be fair a much more port efficient way of dealing with encryption for email.
The Joint Committee on the Draft Bill produced a report. I have now read the report. In that report it says:
297. The Home Office knows that not all overseas CSPs will comply with retention notices. It is for this reason that the notices issued under clause 1 may require United Kingdom CSPs to keep third party data traversing their networks. United Kingdom CSPs are rightly very nervous about these provisions. The Home Office has given an oral commitment to United Kingdom CSPs that the Home Sec…
This week my constituency office has been in contact with Robin Bryan, BCC’s Constituency Parks & Customer Liaison Manager for the Department of Parks & Nature Conservation.
Works which were undertaken on 5 oak trees included;
2 x storm damaged, and pollarded to seek regeneration
2 x dead wood removal, and;
1 x felled due to level of decay and consequential risk
The two trees that have been pruned back hard were storm damaged. The hard pruning was done to give the trees a good chance to regrow better and stronger. This particular action was chosen as the alternative would have been to remove them altogether as there was the worry that they were too top heavy and may collapse.
The Sycamores, along the fence on Broughton Road, were growing through the fence and starting to obstruct the footpath for pedestrians etc. They would eventually start damaging the fence and it is easier and cheaper to remove when they are small. They were self-set trees anyway.
Oaks have been pol…
In the end the government offered an improved position on the issue of corporate defamation and permitted development. Hence I actively abstained on both of those votes (voting both ways). I also opposed the government on the issue as to whether the ECHR has a duty to monitor whether society is getting better. The government took the view that it should only monitor its detailed functions and not have a general duty to improve things and monitor that. I also voted for the status quo on Health and Safety. (interestingly I was the only rebel in parliament on this).
I thought it was worth putting together a summary of the problems in the family division. Some of these problems also occur in other areas of the judiciary, but they are commonplace in the family division.
The underlying problem is evidence.
Because much of the evidence is opinion unreliable opinion from "experts" gives rise to unreliable conclusions. Professor Jane Ireland's report which is available here. concluded (inter alia): "Two thirds of the reports reviewed were rated as below the expected standard, with one third between good and excellent.". What this means is that 2/3rds of the decisions in the care proceedings are unreliable because the evidence was unreliable.
An additional difficulty is that the experts (which include social workers) who are giving their opinions are often subject to conflicts of interest. For example in the Court of Protection a social worker can conclude that someone "does not have the mental capacity to decide wher…
This story should cause concern. If a barrister who was on the verge of becoming a judge believes that the best thing to do is to leave the country what should others do. Given that Ireland, with its financial problems, has been trying to drive family court refugees back to England I have been talking to other countries to find out if they will simply apply the law to protect people from the abuses of power in England. I did speak to one country today who I think will help.
There is also enthusiasm amongst foreign embassies for a conference in parliament to look at how to fight corruption in the family courts in England.
This is a link to the report.
Interestingly in 2.1 it says: "The MCA legislation is not well understood or implemented. Because of this, staff may be too quick to assume that people lack the capacity to make any decisions. Also staff may not try to maximise
people’s capacity, or carry out decisions within the best interests framework of the MCA, because they don’t understand the legislation."
I have sent the RP case which is a key one relating to mental capacity to the grand chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. Far too many people have their capacity removed wrongly. The system remains chocabloc with conflicts of interests and rubbishy assessments and the route to challenge is overly bureaucratic (a legal appeal rather than a merits appeal).
The debate about how far £53 goes is really not a sensible debate. It is possible to feed yourself reasonably cheaply, but there are other costs of course.
One issue which concerns me, for example, is bus fares for young unemployed people. Young people in Yardley now have go to Solihull Job Centre. From April 2013 the applicable amount for a young single person is in fact £56.80. (It was 56.25 so I am not sure where the sum of £53 comes from).
For someone on £56.80 per week the bus fares to Solihull and back are £3.90 per day. That does allow travel anywhere. However, this is a material amount of the cash they get each week.
I have raised this with the Job Centre authorities, but it appears that they did not take this into account when shifting the signing location.