Jun 13

Tories promise family courts reform

This protest at Edward Timpson's home in May led to a manifesto commitment on reform of the family courts

This protest at Edward Timpson’s home in May led to a manifesto commitment on reform of the family courts

The Conservative Party promised reform of the family courts in their manifesto following a rooftop protest.

It is of course open to argument whether the manifesto commitment was a response to the protest at the home of Edward Timpson.  Mr Timpson was Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families in the previous government.  It follows he had responsibility for social services, child protection and to some extent the operation of the family courts.


The protest, on 8th May, was carried out by an aggrieved father who has fought a long campaign to be reunited with his son.

We reported on the father’s case in January when the local authority tried to have him imprisoned for contempt of court.

Medway Council asked a court to jail ‘EL’ for contempt after he posted a picture of his in-care son online.  Instead circuit Judge Richard Scarratt imposed a suspended sentence.

HIs Honour instructed this author that we may only refer to the father as ‘EL’ and the son as ‘J’.

That is because of secrecy rules the family court employs to protect the reputation of the courts and local authorities.

The local paper reported on the 8th May protest here.  And additionally here.  Other parents have left comments which are worth reading.

Manifesto Commitment on Family Courts

Theresa May published her manifesto ten days after the protest, on 18th May.  In it, she said:

‘Protecting vulnerable children and families’.
‘Placing a child under the oversight of social services and taking a child into care are amongst the most serious duties the state may discharge.’
‘We will demand all local authorities be commissioners of the highest-quality family support and child protection services, removing these responsibilities from the weakest councils and placing them in trust.
‘Finally, we shall explore ways to improve the family justice system. The family courts need to do more to support families, valuing the roles of mothers and fathers, while ensuring parents face up to their responsibilities.’

Moreover, the Tories were the only party to commit to any such reform.  That in itself lends support to the view that the commitment was a direct result of EL’s rooftop protest.

Laura Smith is the new Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich, winning by just 48 votes

Laura Smith is the new Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich, winning by just 48 votes

However, the manifesto commitment did not save Mr Timpson’s seat.  He lost Crewe and Nantwich to Labour’s Laura Smith.

Mrs Smith overturned a 3,620 majority.  She won the seat by 48 votes.

Court appearances

The police placed the father involved on police bail pending a court charge in September.  However, Medway Council are taking him to court again this Thursday 15th.

A judge will hear the case at Canterbury County Court.  The Council seek to commit the father to prison for contempt of court this time after he named a social worker online.  As it happens, he is perfectly entitled to do so under the law.

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  1. Roger Eldridge


    As you know the Institute has been working in this area for the past 18 years.

    What you refer to [below] is actually where the parents have been tricked into giving their ‘consent’ – by entering an appearance, either formally or by presenting at the court case – for the ‘court/arbitrator’ to make decisions about their child.

    Without this consent the person in the guise of the judge merely represents the State and not the People and has no power to impose anything on anyone.

    Only the People, through the Director of Public Prosecutions, in a criminal court can interfere [on conviction only] with a parents fundamental and inalienable rights to their property [their child] and their liberty where they do not consent.

    In so-called “Family Law” which takes place in private/secret the court is bereft of a criminal jurisdiction to IMPOSE [as you say] any injunctions on the liberty or property rights of the parents.

    by the way, the child has a fundamental right to the free and unfettered access/contact to both its biological parents and this can only be interfered with by the State/judge as an adjunct order where it is found to be necessary because the parent[s] have done something prohibited by the People, i.e. have been found guilty of committing a crime in a criminal prosecution,

    Please feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss the situation and/or the law further
    God Bless, Roger Eldridge
    Executive Director, Institute of Family and Marriage
    National Office: Knockvicar, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
    Email: familymen@eircom.net             
    Telephones: 00353 (0) 7196-67138           00353 (0) 83-3330256

    Chairman, National Mens Council of Ireland, – “Doing what men have always done … protecting their Families, Faith and Freedom from attack by Big Business and Big Government”

    1. pru

      Stop talking nonsense to people.This case is in England ,not the Irish REPUBLIC .Even in Ireland this HOGWASH doesn’t wash!You are deliberately misleading people for your own deranged ends.I know ALL ABOUT YOU and the vile rubbish that you promote,such as that females ,whom have nothing to do with you can be “found” and are then”property” for the use of.You are ,at best PRIMATIVE ,and also quite deranged. Keep your nonsense in your own country.

      1. Rox

        “females ,whom have nothing to do with you can be “found” and are then”property” for the use of.”

        Do tell us more !

        1. Rox

          I’m still waiting for Pru to reveal the details of a scandal similar to Rochdale, but if she has no evidence at all for this, she ought to admit it.

  2. lightxtend

    Stephen, please update on the meeting after it is held on 22nd June thanks.

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