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Judges now explaining the orders to the Children directly

Justice Moore recently handed down a decision which has a number of interesting points. [Lane & Arthurs 554 NCF 2004] Judment date 28/2/07

Justice Moore recently handed down a decision which has a number of interesting points. (Lane & Arthurs 554 NCF 2004) Judgment date 28/2/07.

The first is the interesting way the Judge has dealt with the problem of alienation of a parent. The Judge has basically put most of the responsibility for repairing the damage back on the mother. Further, the orders (Interim made after a full trial) set a deadline, which if not met will result in residence being reversed.

Also of interest is the Judges decision to call the children to her chambers to explain the orders directly to the children.
The Orders said
For those reasons, the orders will be:

1. Until further order and subject to compliance with order 2 hereof, the children T Lane born … 1995 and L Lane born … 1997 live with their mother.

2. The children are to have contact with their father

a) initially in the Counselling rooms of the Court after delivery of judgment in the presence of a counsellor and

b) on the first Saturday following judgment from 9am to 4pm by their father collecting them and returning them to their mother's residence and thereafter as follows:

(i) during school terms:

   a) every second weekend commencing 10 March 2006 from 6pm Friday to 6pm Sunday or 6pm Monday if it is a public holiday;

   b) at other times or otherwise as agreed between the parents.

(ii) during school holidays:

   c) for the whole of the Easter 2006 school holidays and thereafter one half of each of the school holidays during periods to be agreed and, failing agreement, for the first half in even numbered years and the second half in odd numbered years.

   d) at other times or otherwise as agreed between the parents.

(iii) by telephone

 e) with reasonable frequency for reasonable duration.

3. Contact is to be implemented by their father or his nominee collecting them from their mother's residence at the beginning of any period and their mother or her nominee collecting them from their father's residence at the conclusion of any period.

4. Pursuant to s.65L(1) of the supervised by a Mediator nominated by the Director of Mediation at the Newcastle Registry of this Court and the Mediator is to give to the parents such assistance as is reasonably requested by either of them in relation to compliance with and carrying out these orders and any communication with or involvement of the Mediator is to be reportable upon further order of the Court.

5. The matter is to be listed for mention on a date at the end of April to be advised or earlier upon the request of either party or the supervising Mediator for the purpose of making further orders about the children's longer term arrangements.

6. The father is to be permitted to take the children on holidays to Mauritius once per annum provided he gives to the mother reasonable notice of his intention and provides her with details of the flights and contact while in Mauritius.

7. The child G R born … 1993 is to live with her mother.

I certify that the previous 160 paragraphs are a true copy of the judgment delivered by the Honourable Justice Moore.

Poster's Note … the child G R is the child of a previous relationship of the mother.

This is the second time in very recent history that a Family Court Judge has spoken directly to the Children at the centre of parental conflict. In Elspeth & Peter (P) HBF 150/2003, Date of Judgement 21/12/06, Justice Benjamin ordered that the children be in court for the reading of the judgement.

Family Law Act 1975, compliance with order 2 is to be.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!

Is the judge explaining orders to children the result of Ruddock's proposed training?

Can anyone tell me if the judge explaining the court orders to children is the result of the 'training' Mr Ruddock talks about for all involved in the FCoA and FMC processes?

If so, when did this training begin? - and what is being trained?


Who cares?

As long as judges have got the message, it doesn't matter whether they were trained in Art Appreciation or the Psychological Consequences to Children of Flawed Judicial Decisions.

Ruddock's training for family law professionals

Eyah, Conan, it does.

One of the problems with poorly educated and trained people running the system is that they have only their prejudices to refer to, instead of the principles and standards of law and their role.

Just telling them to "get the message" is like a threat, or an ultimatum.

And they'll react to it as such - with childish resentment, not as trained professionals.

It will only come back to strike others in different ways.

There are so many sad facts in all of this.

Sounds to me that the very fact a Judge talked to the children directly is a step in the right direction as all to often we sit through case after case and the children are simply a by product of a war of words between parents.. Out there somewhere about to be thrust into conditions and terms they probably have no idea about...and the interaction by this judge has brought reality back to the courtroom. Well done I say. :P

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Judge Imposes Penalty and allows publicity in Contravention Case.

A follow up to the Elspeth & Peter case, where Justice Benjamin both called the children and extended family into court to read the judgement, as well as allowing the case to be reported in the media.

Also of interest is the short time between the original orders, 21/12/06 and the Contavention Hearing 20/2/06
From the Age 21/2/06

Michael Bachelard
February 21, 2007

A JUDGE has given three members of an Exclusive Brethren family suspended jail sentences for denying a father an access visit to two of his children.

The judgement was an emphatic statement by the Family Court that it will not tolerate the Exclusive Brethren continuing to flout court orders in pursuit of the sect's policy of strict separation of its members from those who have left the church.

Justice Robert Benjamin imposed four-month suspended prison sentences on the children's mother, a son and her son-in-law.

"What happened in this case is that the court said to these people, 'Do not breach these orders', in circumstances where the finding was clear that the separation of the children and their father was at the higher end of emotional abuse," Justice Benjamin said.

"I made it absolutely clear. Yet some two or three weeks later, a breach occurred. In this case a term of imprisonment is entirely appropriate."

Justice Benjamin concluded that the family had put pressure on the children not to go on the visit.

"These children are entitled to have a relationship with their father, and the steps that the respondents have taken to prevent the relationship are extraordinary and appalling."

The son and son-in-law were found to have aided and abetted the mother, and got the same sentences.

Justice Benjamin suspended the sentences because of the otherwise good record of the mother, her son and son-in-law, and because of the young men's youth. However, they will go to prison if, in the next 12 months, they do not comply with the orders for access, or if the two young men go to the place where the children, aged eight and 13, are handed over.

The mother is not allowed to take any male member of the Brethren with her when she hands over the children, because the judge found men exercised power over women.

He also ordered the mother to pay all the costs in the case, including the father's and those of the independent children's lawyer.

The case arose from a December 21 judgement that the father be given regular access to the two youngest of the couple's eight children, aged eight and 13. But when he went to pick them up at the mother's house for a week-long visit on January 14, he found his son and son-in-law there, even though they were supposed to be at church. The young children, a boy and a girl, told the father they did not want to go with him.

"I knocked on the door, the children came to the door and said, without emotion, that 'I'm not coming with you'. I said why. They said, 'I'm just not'. I said to (my daughter), 'The judge did say that it's OK'.

"And immediately at that point she turned around and looked up at her mother and gave a smile, which troubled me, as if some preconceived plan was in place," the father said.

"What I saw was (one young man) standing in the doorway with his arms folded … an overbearing attitude. (The other young man) was standing on the other side of the door … there were four adults there, and I saw intimidated children."

But the mother gave evidence that the children were presented for the father to take, their bags were packed and on the veranda, and she had told them they were allowed to go. But during a two-hour stand-off, a police officer was called but could not deliver the children to the father.

The mother admitted under cross-examination that members of the Exclusive Brethren had deposited more than $50,000 into a bank account for her to pay her legal costs.

Costs are escalating quickly after the mother briefed a senior Melbourne QC, Noel Ackman, to appear in a motion to have the judge stay his orders.

The mother said the money was a loan. She denied that it was part of a "fighting fund" amassed by the Brethren to fight Family Court cases.

"It's a system of society of love that you probably don't understand," the mother told the father's counsel, Terry McGuire.

She also admitted to speaking for about 10 minutes to Exclusive Brethren world leader Bruce Hales 10 days after the failed access visit, on January 24.

She described Mr Hales as a "family friend" and denied he had influenced her about the case.

During evidence, the mother laughed when asked if there was a photograph of the children's father in the house.

Asked if she had told him that he became a grandfather late in January, she said: "That's not my responsibility."

"That's extraordinary," Justice Benjamin said. "How sad it was that this house was so poisonous to the father that they could not even have a photograph of the father in their home."

The judge rejected the mother's argument that the children were acting from free will, saying these "were not the views of these children but of the adults who surrounded them".

He said he found the mother, her son and son-in-law evasive, and preferred the evidence of the father.

The mother also gave evidence that if according to her conscience the law of the land conflicted with God's law, she would reject it.

Justice Benjamin had earlier rejected an application by Mr Ackman, QC, for a stay of his orders. Mr Ackman argued that the children were entitled to exercise their free will not to see their father, and that his insistence that he be given access "can hardly be a considered decision of a man who says this is in the best interests of the children".

After losing that argument, Mr Ackman launched a second action, this time asking Justice Benjamin to disqualify himself, on the grounds of bias, from hearing the case brought by the father that the mother had contravened the order. Justice Benjamin refused to disqualify himself.

The judge also refused an application by the mother's other lawyer, Roger Murray, to close the court to The Age.


The court is send a clear public message "we expect our orders to be followed, or else!"  :thumbs:  :thumbs:

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
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