Weblog archive for May 2006

22 May 2006

Fathers 4 Justice has reformed with new strategy

... the focus had now changed to a campaign for a more open family court system, on behalf of all parents. 

Founder Matt O'Conner

We don't seem to be able to talk to politicians to see that justice has been done, so we are returning to our attention-seeking stunts. 

A spokesman for the group, Guy Harrison

Campaign group Fathers 4 Justice has confirmed that it has reformed following its protest stunt on the BBC's National Lottery Show.

Matt O'Conner said:

"We don't seem to be able to talk to politicians to see that justice has been done, so we are returning to our attention-seeking stunts....

"Fathers 4 Justice now wanted to mature the debate by campaigning for a more open family court".

If this can help achieve more openness in the family courts for all, this will be useful. It isn't simply a matter of what happens after a family separates. There are also major problems after social services have screwed up families with their crackpot ideas. Even after their silliness in such cases as Cleveland, Rochdale, Nottingham, and Orkney, it can take a long time for children to be reunited with their parents. Sometimes, this never happens - while the parents may not be prosecuted, the family courts may keep the child away. Sometimes children have been adopted by the time the parents have been cleared.

Perhaps if family courts were more open, some of these injustices would not occur, and others would be more heavily publicised and act as a lesson for others. One thing is clear - open, honest appraisal of failures is needed in order to understand the root cause of such injustices so that the fundamental problems can be eliminated in future.

23 May 2006

Further news on a promising male contraceptive

Preliminary studies in animals and men show that this doesn't have the side effects of hormonal methods. The concept is pretty simple: A set of tiny plugs block sperm as they travel through a tube called the vas deferens. Men don't need to worry that they'll have acne or gain weight or have their sex drive go up or down--all things that can happen when you manipulate hormones. 

Jim Stice, president of Shepherd Medical Company, a consortium of researchers and entrepreneurs developing the device

This appears to be what was previous called "Shugs". The Intra Vas Device (IVD) is a set of tiny silicone implants that blocks the flow of sperm. Because silicone rubber has been widely tested and shown safe for medical use, researchers hope that the IVD will encounter few regulatory hurdles. Because IVD reversal is a much simpler procedure, the researchers expect its reversal success rate will be significantly higher than vasovasostomy.

Shepherd Medical anticipates having European, Canadian and US approval by 2010.

24 May 2006

Secrecy of the family courts may be about to end?

We need a very big change in culture from secrecy to openness, to bolster public confidence. No change is not an option. There is a serious lack of confidence in the family courts which must be addressed. The family courts were "for ever on the back foot", defending themselves against accusations of bias. The secrecy of the courts allowed serious allegations to be made. It is not possible for the courts to rebut these allegations. The courts have got nothing to hide. 

Harriet Harman, QC, Minister for Constitutional Affairs

The article in The Times says it:

"A consultation paper will urge a change of culture to end the secrecy of the family courts, which have faced the hostility of such groups as Fathers4Justice. The Department for Constitutional Affairs is expected to recommend one set of rules for all courts, instead of most family cases being closed, which presumes cases are in public.... with press and public access subject to anonymity orders".

Let's hope the campaign group Fathers 4 Justice doesn't inadvertently antagonise people and harden attitudes against more openness. They need to encourage support for such a proposal.

More to come ... !

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