Monday, 28 April 2008

Motion tabled on family law and incompatability with human rights

Paul Rowen of the Liberal Democrats has tabled a motion which seeks a resolution from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the incompatability between family law in England and Wales and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The motion:

"The Parliamentary Assembly recognises that human rights are part of the Council of Europe’s key values. It recognises that systems are needed for the protection of children when they are at risk. The Assembly believes, however, that those who are tasked with protecting children need to be accountable for their actions and need to operate in a way which protects the human rights of those people they are dealing with.

The Assembly notes that there is substantial concern that the secrecy of the Family Division of Courts in England and Wales has caused the development of an environment in which practitioners are not properly accountable. It notes that a number of people have emigrated from England because they feel persecuted by the authorities tasked with Child Protection.

The Assembly particularly notes the use of Section 54.4 of the 1999 Access to Justice Act by the Court of Appeal in England which is preventing cases being considered by the Supreme Court in England and the way in which this acts to undermine the rule of law allowing the Family Division of Courts to operate in isolation from the wider body of law.

The Assembly recognises that questions have been raised as to whether the judicial proceedings in England’s Family Courts are compliant with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Right to a Fair Trial).

The Assembly also recognises that questions have been raised as to whether the system is also systematically uncompliant with Articles 3, 8, 10, 11 and 12.

The Assembly suggests that the relevant committee of the Assembly starts an examination of the system to which concerned parties can submit evidence of Human Rights abuses in England and Wales."

Article 3: the prohibition of torture
Article 8: right to respect for family life
Article 10: right to freedom of expression
Article 11: right to freedom of assembly and association
Article 12: right to marry

My thanks to Lisa Cohen of JUMP for this information and the MPs in question as a lack of accountability within the court service and breaches to human rights need to be addressed by this Government and the Ministry of Justice.