Letters: Secret and Broken Family Courts Betrayed Me and My Child | Family law

It is so gratifying that the Observer and others shine a light on the disaster that is the family court system (“Families Shattered by Unregulated Court Experts”, News, and “How Children’s Lives Can Be Shattered by Family Court Experts”. Unregulated Family”, Special Report). I totally agree and confirm the comments expressed in both articles. “Parental alienation” is unscientific but is used by abusive partners to discredit the protective parent. It is approved by so-called experts who make money at the expense of the child.

Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to refute such a negative, especially since in my case no “survey” exercise took place. Unlike criminal courts, appearing guilty until proven guilty is the overriding premise. Also in my case, the “expert” had no experience or expertise in my particular case or that of my child, which left us discriminated against.

What my child wanted and expressed clearly and repeatedly was ignored and exceeded. I don’t see any justice in the system, but there is no mechanism to fight it because everything happens behind closed doors. This is compounded if you are in any way disadvantaged.

Protective children and parents are left behind by a broken secret system that needs to change. It must be transparent, based on facts, and not on conjecture or pseudo-science supported by “experts” making money on it, often at the expense of the most vulnerable. In the name of justice, the secrecy of these courts must end.
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Darwin is no mere amateur

“Sometimes dabbling has led to dramatic breakthroughs: Charles Darwin is a famous example.” I see where Martha Gill is coming from (“No talent required in the lucrative new era of the amateur gentleman”, Commentary), in that Darwin had a degree in theology, but biology was not included in the course of natural sciences from Cambridge until 1851 and Darwin graduated 20 years earlier.

Getting a “professional” qualification in biology, anywhere in the world, was nearly impossible in those days. In short, he was about as professional as anyone could have been in the 19th century.
John Horfall
Caterham, Surrey

Unreversible Brexit

William Keegan delivers an excellent analysis of the impact of Brexit on the British economy (“Brexit has reached the gold standard of self-harm”, Business). However, his conclusion that Brexit is reversible is currently not true. To qualify as a member of the EU, any candidate government must prove that it respects international law. This would automatically exclude the UK.
Philippe Bushill-Matthews
Spa in Leamington, Warwickshire

Is that a bomb in your kilt?

In her fascinating article on the launch of the Stuart Christie Memorial Archive (“Anarchist, Publisher, Would-be Assassin: Recording the Legacy of Stuart Christie”, News), Vanessa Thorpe described Christie’s infamous mission, clad in a kilt, to deliver plastic explosives to Madrid in connection with the failed assassination attempt on General Franco in 1964.

In his very entertaining memoirs, Grandma made me an anarchistChristie explained that he wore the kilt because it was a good hiding place for explosives.

This wheezing made him something of a local hero in the west of Scotland, where I was living at the time, as it seemed to Glasgow residents a “purely deid gallus” thing to do. Christie added that her choice of clothes, coupled with her long hair, led to reports in the foreign press that the person who tried to blast Franco was a Scottish transvestite.
Mike Pender

Social housing, the way forward

Sonia Sodha (“The ugly truth behind our rigged housing system – politicians live in fear of landlords”, Commentary) is quite right to state that “the ugly truth at the heart of the housing crisis is that politicians don’t ‘have no incentive to pursue policies that would truly make housing more affordable.’ created this crisis. Adding fuel to a dysfunctional system only makes things worse.

If politicians are serious about providing adequate and affordable housing, they must promote non-market, community-based forms of tenure, such as community land trusts, co-housing and other forms of social housing that could be funded by progressive taxes on properties held for speculative or investment purposes. Which politicians are willing and able to advocate for this?
Geoffrey Payne
London W5

Picasso the executioner

It’s surreal for Dalya Alberge (“Always thought Picasso painted like a child? Well, he wanted to”, News) to write that a child was “born from [Pablo Picasso’s] passionate love for Marie-Thérèse Walter, whom he met in 1927 when she was only 17 and he was 28 years her senior”.

Walter’s pregnancy in 1935 was the occasion for Picasso both to separate (over the years) from his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, whom he never divorced, and to recover his next famous mistress, Dora Maar, during Walter’s pregnancy. Françoise Gilot, still alive at 100 and who succeeded Maar, writes that he had “a Bluebeard complex which made him want to cut off the heads of all the women he had collected in his little private museum.

“But he didn’t cut off heads entirely. He preferred that life go on and that all these women who had shared his life at one time or another still utter little cries and little cries of joy or pain and make a few gestures like disarticulated dolls, just to prove that there was life left in them, that she was hanging by a thread and he was holding the other end of the thread.
Benjamin Letzler
Modling, Austria

Who are you calling classy?

I’m sorry to spoil Melvyn Bragg’s little anecdote about him and Dennis Potter being two of only three true working class members in Oxford when they were there (“This much I know”, Magazine).

I was a student at Ruskin College at the time, and while not everyone there was working class, most were, especially the large contingent of ex-miners.
Dr David Mervin
Arnside, Cumbria

A question of law

Chris Patten tells Tim Adams about his attempts to explain the concept of rule of law to the government in Beijing when he was governor of Hong Kong (“Reflections on the Death of Democracy”, The New Review). Do members of the current British government understand the concept better?

When the late Tom Bingham’s book The rule of law was published in 2010, one reviewer wrote that Bingham explained basic ideas of the rule of law simply and clearly, “as to a child or a minister”.

It has never been more necessary for someone to take cabinet ministers aside and carefully explain what the rule of law means and why it is so important nationally and internationally.
John Filby
Ashover, Derbyshire

There was a crooked man

Jonathan Bouquet refers to the simile uttered by Gideon from Gideon’s Path: “As twisted as a moron’s cane” (Commentary). I prefer the following comparison from Ray White’s book swallow dogwhere a young Missouri plow boy looks back at the two dozen furrows he has just plowed, “each as crooked as a jackleg lawyer”.
John Richards

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