Recap #cclivechat September 28, 2012

sum it up #cclivechat Our #cclivechat guest today was the lovely Natasha Phillips from Researching Reform who gave us insight in the UK Family Law Courts.

Natasha Phillips is a non-practicing barrister working for pressure groups like Justice For Families, which combine political and legal policy proposals with a view to reforming the Family Justice System.

She is the founder of ‘Divorce Manual’‘Researching Reform’ and ‘Pod It Forward’ in England, projects which focus on encouraging pragmatic reforms within the English Family Justice System. The projects also focus on the latest issues within the Family Courts in both the public and private sectors and are platforms for progressive perspectives on the nature of Family Law in England.

Natasha is also a single mother who has gone through the divorce process in the UK. She also has a legal background, so she got a slightly unusual insight into the divorce process which allowed her to see the system in all its glory (or lack of it). In her spare time, she tweets under the account name @SobukiRa.

Natasha explained a lot of the rules and why so very often a child’s voice gets lost in the proceedings. The child may be represented by solicitors or guardians but courts have no duty to implement any recommendations given. Many new organizations in the UK perform good services but still, there is room for improvement.

Many jumped in with good questions and the hour flew by. Natasha agreed to come back for more chats because we have not even scratched the surface of all the issues children face and what role the family courts play in for example, divorce.

Two links Natasha pointed out: the case of Megan Stammers and this article about advocacy for children.

The dates of Natasha’s following chats will be posted on DCC’s home page a.s.a.p. The verbatim thread is below.

Cheers!

Vidocq_CCIt is noon on a rainy day at the US East Coast. Let's warm up with a discussion on UK family law. But first a plea for help. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 15:59:54 +0000
Vidocq_CCA PI friend of mine wants the help of another PI or a media consultant to discuss a cold case involving a child. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:00:23 +0000
Vidocq_CCWhat he needs is a dedicated email partner to brainstorm about the case and give him ideas how to get more media attention. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:00:54 +0000
Vidocq_CCIf you are willing to help pro bono, let me know. Even if you are not a PI but web-tech-savy, please contact me. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:01:23 +0000
Vidocq_CCMy guest today is @sobukira, a gem on Twitter who makes you laugh till the beer comes out of your nose! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:02:01 +0000
Vidocq_CCHowever, Natasha Phillips is also a walking encyclopedia on the UK family court system. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:02:30 +0000
Vidocq_CCYou can find more information about Natasha on her blog Researching Reform http://t.co/5doFpeFR #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:02:59 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Oh my goodness! Hello, V 🙂 *waves* #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:03:09 +0000
Vidocq_CCNatasha can also be found on LinkedIn http://t.co/ac2ZeoFG #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:03:16 +0000
Vidocq_CCBuki, welcome to the chat! How are you? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:03:37 +0000
AdamSmallboneHi Natasha! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:03:48 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Do you deny that you made the beer come out of my nose? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:04:19 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Guilty as charged?! I'm not going to argue with a top human rights lawyer..... I did it if you say I did! 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:05:52 +0000
SobukiRa@AdamSmallbone Hi Adam 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:06:19 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa And that's how people get into trouble with the law! Speaking about law, can you give us a brief intro to your career? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:06:55 +0000
Vidocq_CCFrom @Evie_G_L @SobukiRa What sentence does beer from nasal passage by manipulation, carry? #ifany #cclivechat 😉 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:08:35 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @sobukira *giggle fit* I started our working for a corporate law firm in the city, so totally unrelated to family law but... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:10:32 +0000
SobukiRa@Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC Don't incite, V, please! I'd like to get through the interview with my liberties intact..... #cclivechat 🙂Fri, 28 Sep 2012 16:10:35 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @sobukira Went through a divorce in UK family courts with my family & started to blog about the experience. It started there! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:11:13 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Pls use the hashtag #cclivechat at the end of each tweet #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:11:40 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Sorry, V, will do! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:12:52 +0000
Vidocq_CCThat is quite an experience. What I am curious about is what services are available for teens who need help from the courts? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:12:53 +0000
Vidocq_CCI am talking about teens who can verbalize neglect, abuse (phys or emotional) and who need counsel. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:13:19 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa No problem! I'll try and catch what I can. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:13:34 +0000
Vidocq_CCI can imagine being torn between parents during divorce proceedings or, needing care that is denied on religious grounds. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:14:12 +0000
LilacLoungeWe're talking family law over at #cclivechat with @SobukiRa. Afternoon @Vidocq_CC!Fri, 28 Sep 2012 16:14:19 +0000
Vidocq_CC@LilacLounge SUE! How good to see you, my friend! How are you? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:14:56 +0000
LilacLounge@Vidocq_CC Very well thanks 🙂 Eager to learn, I am listening in the background... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:16:52 +0000
Vidocq_CC@LilacLounge Great, thank you. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:17:26 +0000
AdamSmallbone@SobukiRa what are your feelings on the intro of "Tesco law", with Tesco/Co-op diversifying into offering family law services? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:18:50 +0000
SobukiRa@AdamSmallbone I think there's too much focus on law being at the heart of things like divorce. Essentially, I think... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:20:43 +0000
SobukiRa@AdamSmallbone Law should take a back seat to more holistic measures. So theoretically, Tesco could offer a perfectly decent... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:21:39 +0000
SobukiRa@AdamSmallbone Admin-based practice. The difficulty in delivery comes, to my mind, when matters are more complex, I think! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:22:32 +0000
Vidocq_CCFrom @Evie_G_L: Do schools give enough support to teens with parents going through divorce? (Considering divorce stats) #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:22:48 +0000
SobukiRa@Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC I think they could do more. Schools could develop their pastoral care in general to include this support #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:23:30 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa So where can a teen go if he/she needs guidance? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:24:35 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC At the moment options for teens are limited, but there are some new organisations offering some stellar support... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:25:46 +0000
Vidocq_CCFrom @Evie_G_L: That is exactly the area I was thinking of. Especially were there (understanably) may be absenteeism #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:26:04 +0000
AdamSmallbone@SobukiRa will be interesting to see how it develops! So do you think then that only limited services should be offered? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:26:54 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC A Kid Space aims to give kids going through their parents' divorce a place to get support http://t.co/pIkt81J3... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:27:04 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Can you give some examples of those organizations? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:27:14 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC And there's also CRIN's amazing Children's Rights Wiki which tells kids what their rights are.... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:28:30 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC all over the world http://t.co/7FEYwMkZ #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:28:39 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Excellent! Are those organization able to also assist the child in court? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:29:43 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa For example, are they allowed to accompany the child during court proceedings and do they have standing? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:30:24 +0000
Vidocq_CCFrom @Evie_G_L: To follow on from that, are there sufficient links between social services & schools, to account for this? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:31:51 +0000
SobukiRa@AdamSmallbone I think a lot of it depends on how the services are sourced; competence will be a concern, but we'll see 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:32:11 +0000
SobukiRa@Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC I'm not sure having social services involved with schools for divorce issues is a good idea. #cclivechat ....Fri, 28 Sep 2012 16:33:53 +0000
SobukiRa@Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC To my mind, the aim is to keep everything as holistic as possible, so kids feel safe but also understood #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:34:23 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Assistance in court is usually offered by children's solicitors or guardians and we are supposed to have advocacy.. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:35:10 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC For kids, but we're not doing terribly well on that front http://t.co/FylsLdsL We need to step up our effort here 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:36:22 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Can organizations make recommendations to those solicitors and guardians? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:36:30 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC But there are movements inside the system trying to protect & enhance the Voice of the Child. There's a committee... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:37:01 +0000
LdnFamilyLawyer@SobukiRa @Vidocq_CC There's also NYAS who can help with that and other support http://t.co/DYQYUc8m #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:37:57 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Run by the Family Justice Council called the Voice of the Child Committee, which aims to do that http://t.co/KcLFegit #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:38:08 +0000
Vidocq_CC@LdnFamilyLawyer Thanks for the link! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:38:32 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa What can a child do if it feels the solicitor is not really speaking for him/her but blindly applies the law? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:39:17 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC But in practice, children's views are noted by Cafcass officers and solicitors, but often misinterpreted or set aside #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:39:27 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @LdnFamilyLawyer: RT @LdnFamilyLawyer: @SobukiRa @Vidocq_CC There's also NYAS who can help with that and other support http://t.co/DYQYUc8m #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:39:29 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Why set aside? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:40:13 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Those organisations are not directly set up to do that, but children can have their own lawyers, who are supposed... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:41:41 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa If you set aside a child's voice the divorce purely centers on parents instead of the family as a whole/entity #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:41:46 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC To represent their interests in court #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:41:56 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Those lawyers & the children's guardians can accompany the children in court & can have rights of audience, normally #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:42:57 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Some can liaise with the child's lawyers and give them information, but there is no duty on the court to implement... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:44:03 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Can a child address the judge him/herself if they feel their solicitor is not representing them properly? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:44:39 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Those recommendations at this time. Social Services & Cafcass reports though, carry much weight in family court cases #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:45:30 +0000
SobukiRa@LdnFamilyLawyer @Vidocq_CC Yes, they're another good service! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:46:28 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC This happens a lot. The age and maturity of a child will depend on how much they can question their support, but... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:47:29 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC The Children Act says that a child's welfare is the paramount consideration and guidelines on judges talking to kids #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:48:40 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Allows children to be more vocal about their thoughts and feelings than they have been able to be in the past #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:49:09 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @SobukiRa The Children Act says that a childs welfare is the paramount consideration and guidelines on judges talking to kids #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:49:43 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC But the guidelines are very limiting, with judges being able to deny children an audience with them as of right.. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:49:44 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @SobukiRa: Allows children to be more vocal about their thoughts and feelings than they have been able to be in the past #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:49:56 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Rather than having a basic presumption which says kids who wish to speak to the judge must automatically be allowed #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:50:19 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @SobukiRa: But the guidelines are very limiting, with judges being able to deny children an audience with them as of right.. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:50:49 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @SobukiRa Rather than having a basic presumption which says kids who wish to speak to the judge must automatically be allowed #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:51:01 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC To do so and many of the provisions are likely to harm relations between kids and authority figures rather than #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:51:05 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Increase trust, which is desperately needed. You can see the guidelines here >>> http://t.co/yRWfh4RE #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:51:48 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @SobukiRa To do so and many of the provisions are likely to harm relations between kids and authority figures rather than #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:52:09 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @SobukiRa: @Vidocq_CC Increase trust, which is desperately needed. You can see the guidelines here >>> http://t.co/XnXyyliU #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:52:16 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC They're a good start, but we need to do more to give the Voice of the Child its rightful place in family proceedings #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:52:41 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa I wish we could develop a system where the judge is more approachable #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:52:46 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @SobukiRa Theyre a good start, but we need to do more to give the Voice of the Child its rightful place in family proceedings #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:53:24 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC I think this is cultural. Children are often viewed as incapable of translating rational feeling.... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:53:42 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Megan Stammers is a good example! http://t.co/IyiVHatV We need to look into that more, I think 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:54:33 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC That would be quite an event! I don't believe this has happened, notwithstanding a child giving evidence. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:55:42 +0000
Vidocq_CCOur hour is almost gone. This is an older interview w/Buki http://t.co/zY73KQr0 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:57:21 +0000
Vidocq_CCAnd this is one where she put me on the spot! http://t.co/FIqhNVjt #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:57:44 +0000
SobukiRa@Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC I'm sorry, Evie, I'm not sure what you're asking me. Is this about kids coming to court with their parents? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:57:52 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Thank you so very much for being here. Can we schedule another for more details? So much more ground to cover! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:58:38 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC I think our courts are trying, in certain corners. Nick Crichton fronts the Voice of the Child; he'll get there 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:58:51 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC I would love that..... assuming I haven't made any terrible legal mistakes! 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 16:59:57 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Maybe we can chat with Nick as well? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:00:21 +0000
SobukiRa@Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC 🙂 Children are a lot more intelligent than we think 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:00:44 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa I don't think so. There is so much more I'd like to hear about! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:00:44 +0000
Vidocq_CCI will post a recap later today or this weekend and will add the links. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:01:11 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Thank you again! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:01:37 +0000
Vidocq_CCRT @SobukiRa: RT @SobukiRa: @Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC 🙂 Children are a lot more intelligent than we think 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:01:44 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Nick is fabulous, but I don't think he's on Twitter..... #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:02:06 +0000
Vidocq_CCIf you have any questions for Natasha related to what we discussed now, pls put them in the comment box below the recap post. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:02:23 +0000
Vidocq_CCMore chats will be scheduled and announced on my blog's home page. #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:02:45 +0000
SobukiRa@Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC The court isn't mad on having kids in the proceedings if they're not giving evidence; there's a reluctance #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:03:15 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa Could you check if he is on Twitter? #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:03:21 +0000
SobukiRa@Vidocq_CC Thank you, V! Thank you so much for having me on 🙂 #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:03:38 +0000
SobukiRa@Evie_G_L @Vidocq_CC My pleasure, thank you for chatting, Evie - great questions!!!! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:04:11 +0000
Vidocq_CC@SobukiRa You are very welcome, Natasha. It was very informative and I look forward to the next one! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:04:25 +0000
Vidocq_CCI have to go now but will post later, thanks all for tuning in to #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:04:48 +0000
Vidocq_CCSigning off! #cclivechatFri, 28 Sep 2012 17:05:01 +0000