Written evidence submitted by Paul Robert
Morris (CAF 2)
1.1 CAFCASS was set up by the Criminal Justice
and Court Services Act 2000 to replace the widely discredited
Family Court Welfare Service. In 1997 and 1998, I had two meetings
with Jack Straw, who was then Home Secretary, at which I described
the serious shortcomings of that Service. Shortly afterwards,
CAFCASS was set up. It was and still is seriously under funded.
It is staffed by the same people who failed the Family Court Welfare
Service (FCWS) and largely operates from the same premises. They
brought with them their discredited methodologies and outdated
theories. Effectively, the failed FCWS was merely re-badged. It
was set up to fail. It has not disappointed. It fails the children
of our Country. Not surprisingly, it continues to make the same
mistakes. Nothing has changed. An opportunity was missed.
1.2 Damage to parent-child relationships
has an enormous impact not only on the parent and the child concerned.
These damaged children are more likely to grow into damaged adults
with all the implications for society in, for example, increased
crime rates, antisocial behaviour and drug addiction. Parents
abused by the system are more likely to become alienated from
society. In most cases, a child loses contact with one half of
his or her family. Children have one parent removed from their
lives for no reason. They have no role models. What does this
teach children about values? Many of society's ills stem from
the work of CAFCASS. They are not a force for good.
1.3 will restrict my comments to the area
where I have personal experience and which forms the bulk of the
work of CAFCASScontact matters.
1.4 Whilst fully appreciating that it does
not fall within the remit of the Committee to investigate individual
cases, it may be useful to use the failures of CAFCASS revealed
in my case to illustrate their shortcomings. I discuss principles
1.5 Statistics show that:
Around 50% of marriages end in divorce
In 2001, 147,000 children under 16
as some 40% of children are now born outside
marriage, and assuming the same rate of separation, a further
59,000 children were affected by the breakdown of relationships
even if 50% of parental separations result
in amicable arrangements for continued contact with both parents,
this still leaves 103,000 children who are denied acceptable or,
more often, total contact with a parent (this is not a gender
Almost all of these children will find themselves
the subject of a report from the Children and Family Court Advisory
and Support Service (CAFCASS).
Those who have not had contact with this organisation
will usually assume the following:
1.6 The Myth
CAFCASS officers approach each case from an
independent position. They examine all the evidence, they interview
all the relevant parties and present a balanced report to the
court which shows the advantages and disadvantages of taking different
options. All information in the report is verified; there are
no unfounded allegations or hearsay. Parents see the report well
in advance of the court hearing and are given an opportunity to
correct, controvert or comment upon the report. The report will
always recommend contact except in the most extreme and rare set
of circumstances and will suggest a plan to achieve this. CAFCASS
officers are well trained in their job and have a very clear idea
of their objectives which are laid down in a training manual.
Different CAFCASS officers working on the same case would come
to almost identical recommendations.
Research shows unequivocally that children benefit
from contact with both parents. CAFCASS accepts this.
1.7 The reality
CAFCASS Officers determine the status quo. For
example, if the mother has taken the children on the breakdown
of the relationship (the most usual scenario, though the reverse
is becoming more common) and the father has failed through his
own efforts to obtain contact, by the time the matter reaches
court, the father may not have seen his children for six months
or more. CAFCASS officers will be loath to "disturb this
situation" relying on the excuses that it would be too traumatic
for the child to see the parent without contact, and it would
not be in the "child's best interests". Of course, the
implied assumption is that what they say must, by definition,
be in the child's best interests. They never justify this. The
officers take the line of least resistance and confirm the status
quo. In fact, it is not a question of being in the child's best
interests at all, but in the best interests of the CAFCASS officer.
1.8 They decide that whatever situation
obtains, it should continue because this is the easiest route
for them. Put another way, they make their decision and then select
the facts to support it. Anyone could take the reverse position
and equally find facts to support that position, again discarding
those facts which do not fit their decision. CAFCASS officers
(or any two people) can equally come to completely opposite decisions
based on the same facts. This, in itself, discredits and invalidates
the work of CAFCASS.
1.9 Using this methodology, CAFCASS can
then dispose of cases quickly and meet targets.
1.10 This means that the parent who has,
"kidnapped" the children is rewarded and the parent
without the children is punished. The Law rewards the guilty and
punishes the innocent. The Mad Hatter would approve.
1.11 The court orders CAFCASS to prepare
reports which are considered to be "expert" reports.
Parents have no right to have their own expert present a report
and are routinely denied such an opportunity if they request it.
1.12 As the court appointed an "expert",
the court must routinely accept his or her recommendations. It
is extremely rare for a court to reject the recommendations of
their own "expert" for obvious reasons. The "experts"
and the judges know each other well; they see each other regularly
in court. It is a cosy relationship.
1.13 CAFCASS officers do not show their
report to the parent who will be adversely affected by the decision
until a few minutes before the Hearing to ensure that they have
little or no opportunity to absorb the contents of the report
and prepare questions. They do not want to be grilled in court
and have their work exposed to scrutiny.
1.14 Once the report is prepared, it is
a "done deal". As parents are prevented from seeing
the report or correcting errors, the court process is a sham.
Judges almost never go against a CAFCASS report; it is invariably
accepted in its entirety. Occasionally, judges may make some trivial
change merely in order to demonstrate their authority.
1.15 No official statistics are gathered
because they are likely to prove this. No official statistics
are gathered on the outcome of judges' decisions because they
are likely to prove an embarrassment. Without data, no one knows
what is happening and this is the way CAFCASS and the courts prefer
it; it does not leave them open to criticism. It is clear from
the widespread dissatisfaction with CAFCASS (and why the Inquiry
was set up) and from anecdotal evidence that this is precisely
2. CAFCASS AND
2.1 CAFCASS officers are poorly trained
and receive virtually no guidance in what they are supposed to
be doing. There are no guidelines concerning the fundamental purpose
of their work regarding contact, residence, patterns of contact
or amount of contact. Training manuals provide abundant help and
advice on other matters such as the wearing of seat belts when
transporting children, translation for non-English speakers and
helping those with learning difficulties. But about the core issues,
there is a total silence.
2.2 Different CAFCASS officers can reach
opposite conclusions from the same set of facts. Not surprisingly,
this inherent unfairness has generated enormous resentment. There
are many fathers (and mothers) who have had their children taken
away from them for absolutely no reason whatsoever. If a child
is taken from a parent (and therefore a parent from a child) without
reason, it can only be described as child abuse. By this definition,
CAFCASS officers routinely commit child abuse. Given that CAFCASS
is part of the Lord Chancellor's Department (LCD), it is Government-funded,
State-sponsored child abuse. It diminishes respect for the State
and for Authority. Ordinary, middle-class, law-abiding parents
are losing respect for the Law. It is that serious.
3. THE EFFECT
3.1 I am allowed to see any child in the
Country except my own. My child can see any man (or woman) in
the Country except me. The only two people who cannot see each
other are father (or mother) and child. A friend who is a teacher,
can teach any child except his own. Does this make sense at all?
I have asked this question of everyone working in the fieldjudges,
barristers, solicitors, CAFCASS, social workers etc. but have
yet to receive a response except, "yes, I know it's crazy,
but that's how it is". It has to stop.
3.2 The parent who has, "kidnapped",
the childor a new partner of that parentdoes not
have to prove to anyone why he or she should see the child, but
the parent who has had the child, "stolen", has to show
why he or she should see that childhis or her own child.
How can one prove innocence? So, a stranger can live with your
child without challenge, yet you are prevented from seeing him
or her at all and for no reason other than the convenience of
the CAFCASS officer.
3.3 If a couple live together, no one suggests
that either needs a court order to see their own childrenthe
very idea is ludicrous. But if one of the parents moves next door,
the presence of a brick wall means the parent without the children
has to apply for a court order.
3.4 The Committee would not be investigating
CAFCASS unless there was widespread dissatisfaction with the Service.
Ordinary middle-class respectable people with not even a parking
ticket to their names, find themselves steamrollered by CAFCASS.
They have done nothing wrong, but CAFCASS positively rewards the
guilty and punishes the innocent. One parent may repeatedly ignore
court orders for contact. CAFCASS and the courts do nothing. Court
orders are meaningless in this context. Courts condone and encourage
the breaking of court orders. The very courts which are supposed
to uphold the Law, encourage people to break the Lawindeed
reward them for so doing.
3.5 The Courts and CAFCASS find themselves
in this position because the system they operate has a fundamental
flawand until this is removed, there is no way in which
the difficulties with contact may be resolved. Tinkering with
CAFCASS will have the same result as tinkering with the old discredited
FCWSnothing but continued chaos and misery.
4. THE FUNDAMENTAL
4.1 I do not have to apply for a court order
to carry out a legal activity. I may go to the pub or a football
match or go shopping without recourse to the Law. Clearly, asking
for a court order for these activities would be considered ludicrous.
If I misbehave whilst involved in any of these activities, then
I may be banned by court order. There is the presumption of innocence,
that most people may enjoy a visit to the pub or football match
without the need to ask for permission. Court orders prevent people
from carrying out activities; they are not issued to allow people
to carry out lawful activities. That is precisely why we have
problems with contact and with CAFCASS.
4.2 There must always be a presumption of
contactunless there is a very good reason why there should
not be and then the court may issue a non-contact order. Implementing
this system would immediately remove the necessity for much of
the work of CAFCASS. There would be no need for reports to see
if a parent is fit to see a child. Indeed, why should the parent
without the child have to do this but the parent with the child
does not? Surely it is more important for the parent with a child
to prove that they are fit to see that child. Unless one parent
could prove (and I mean prove, not allege) that the other parent
is guilty of, say, persistent violence towards the child or of
serious drug abuse, then contact must take placethe only
issue to be considered should be how much and when. Studies in
the United States show that contact with both parents is always
best for a child even if one parent is in prison (I found that
part hard to believe myself).
4.3 However, the vast majority of parents
are not violent or drug abusers or in prison. The vast majority
of parents are just normal human beings who want to see their
kids. Remove these cases from the system and the savings would
be significant. 90% of cases would need only a programme to facilitate
5. THE WAY
5.1 The question then would be to decide
how much contact there should be in the median case. I would suggest
that say, 30 cases could be presented to an expert committee.
These could encompass most of the situations found in real life.
A consensus would be reached. A training manual could then be
issued which would contain these examples.
5.2 Facilitators would ascertain the facts
in a particular case and consult the Manual to see which example
was most like the one they are dealing with and recommend a programme
to achieve this level of contact. No two cases are identical and
so the facilitator would have some leeway but this would be limited,
unlike the present system in which the CAFCASS officer has 100%
leeway. This level of power is bound to corrupt. If a CAFCASS
officer takes a dislike to you for whatever reason or for no reason,
then that is the end of the matter; you will lose contact with
your children. There is nothing you can do.
5.3 Clearly, CAFCASS staff are too contaminated
by their failures. Their mental set would not allow them to slip
seamlessly into this role. There are, however, many skilled mediators,
many of them voluntary, who could quickly and easily carry out
this work. It is vital that the Manual be made available to everyone
so that people know what to expect. We must dispel the culture
of secrecy. Children's lives are too important.
5.4 Factors affecting contact might include
if the parents work, how far apart they live, the age of the children,
the presence of other children, whether there was suitable accommodation
for overnight stays and so on. It is not rocket science; it is
a simple fact gathering exercise. If there is any reluctance on
the part of the children to see a parent, unless there is evidence
to the contrary, there must be a presumption that the most likely
cause is parental alienationthe demeaning of one parent
by the other. Any child psychiatrist will tell you that any difficulties
between parents must not be visited upon the children; to do so
is child abuse. Child abusers must not benefit from that abuse.
Did the children show a reluctance to see a parent when the two
parents lived together? Has there ever been a single case of a
parent applying to see a child he or she was living with? Of course
5.5 Denying contact should become as socially
unacceptable as spitting or urinating in the streetsomething
simply not done by civilised people. Drinking and driving and
smoking in the workplace have been made to be unacceptable. Furthermore,
studies in the United States have shown that if contact is linked
with maintenance, 70% of contact problems disappear.
a. Any parents splitting up must be made
by Law to see a mediator or facilitator.
b. The mediator or facilitator would, in
the first instance, provide written material in the form of leaflets
and the procedure would be explained to them.
c. They would be shown a video explaining
the importance of maintaining contact. Any problems between husband
and wife (or partners) has nothing to do with their roles as mother
and father and the children must not be burdened by them.
d. Both parents must attend counselling
sessions either separately or together for up to 12 hours in total.
These may be in groups or on a one-to-one basis or both.
e. It is of paramount importance that a
range of sanctions is available to ensure that the agreed contact
takes placefrom small financial penalties to imprisonment.
Without the ultimate sanction of imprisonment, the system will
not work. Experience from the United States shows that when potentially
recalcitrant parents understand that these sanctions will be enforced,
contact takes place quickly and easily in the vast majority of
cases. Other sanctions include a change of residence for the children,
the stopping of maintenance payments and a court order to attend
counselling. Faced with imprisonment, it is very rare for a recalcitrant
parent to deny contact which is of course child abuse. Why should
one type of child abuser be spared prison? Custodial sentences
are usually shorta week or twobut faced with increased
amounts of time in prison, difficult parents appreciate the futility
of continuing to resist. I would point out that custodial sentences
are extremely rare in the United States simply because they exist.
f. If a parent objects to the "standard"
amount of contact recommended by the Manual, then he or she may
ask the court to intervene. However, if the Manual is the distilled
thoughts of experts, then any change is likely to be minor. This
means that most people would not bother to go to court and even
if they did, any possible changes recommended by the judge would
be minor thus neither party would either gain or lose much and
would not feel too aggrieved. It would not exacerbate relations
between them. At present, one party can lose everythingit
is a "winner takes all" game right now. This serves
only to entrench attitudes.
When a relationship breaks up, there are two very
damaged people involved and courts simply make things worse because
of the English adversarial system. Lawyers are trained to win.
Children are the prizes. Courts are the very last places to resolve
disputes of this kind; they only serve to exacerbate a taut and
delicate situation. When the Manual is used, there is little to
fight over. It is the norm, everyone does the same. It is seen
to be faireven if people don't like it. The British people
have a great sense of fairness which is why they are so outraged
by the current system. My recommendation treats everyone the same.
g. There should be a heavy weight campaign
to promote the idea of shared parentingboth above and below
the line. Television, radio and press ads can be used to raise
awareness, but the message is complex and advertising must be
supported by editorial pieces, "point-of-sale" and other
opportunities such as story lines in the soaps.
5.7 Once again, experience from countries
around the World shows that once parents know what will happen
when they go through mediation, they will simply accept the "standard
recommendation" without a quibble. It's the same for everyone,
so people feel that they have been treated fairly.
6. THE LAW
6.1 It is extremely important to create
a fair system because at present, there is immense dissatisfaction
with the Law. In England, people have no right to a fair and impartial
hearing as required by the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European
Convention on Human Rights.
6.2 A litigant has no right to put his case,
to present evidence or to have a judge hear argument. The only
right a litigant has is to be physically present in court. A judge
may listen to one side and not the other, he may invent defences
for a defendant, he may prevent a litigant from uttering a single
word, he may ignore acts of Parliament with impunity and he may
break the Civil Procedure Rules without sanction. The Lord Chancellor's
Department is aware of this but takes no action; by default, they
6.3 An innocent parent who has done absolutely
nothing wrong, can lose all contact and even have his child adopted
for no cogent reason.
6.4 Imagine that we did not have a system
at all to deal with contact. Ask yourself, "which is the
better systemthe one we have now or my proposal?"
7.1 I have no details of the costs involved
in running CAFCASS, but the savings to be gained by implementing
my proposal would include:
the complete abolition of CAFCASS
70% of the cost of the CSA as maintenance
would be paid willingly if contact and maintenance were to be
linked as in my proposal
7.2 Although there would be a small cost
for improving the mediation services which already exist, I estimate
a total saving in excess of £1 billion. This is not insignificant.
7.3 This saving does not include the long
term benefits of a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour,
happier, more motivated children, lower suicide rates (especially
amongst young men), more respect for the Law, higher employment
etc. The positive effect will trickle down through the generations.
7.4 Future generations will look back on
this period with horror, just as we find it hard to believe that
we exploited children in Dickensian times, that we had slave labour
or the death penalty. These are the embarrassments of our recent
past and few will not feel ashamed. We now have an opportunity
to put right a dreadful wrong and lay the foundations of an enlightened
system fitting of the 21st Century.
8. AN INTERIM
8.1 CAFCASS must be abolished quickly and
be replaced by mediation (the National Mediation Service for Children
and Parents?). However, as an interim measure, the following should
8.2 A CAFCASS report must be fair and balanced
before it is laid before the court. Currently CAFCASS does not
check the veracity of a report. It has no mechanism for doing
so. It is happy to lay inaccurate reports before the court relying
on questioning in court to expose any flaws. This is in breach
of the Data Protection Act 1998 which demands that data controllers
take steps to ensure the accuracy of personal data. Of course,
the questioning may not be extensive (it is at the discretion
of the judge) and may not have been prepared (because a parent
may not have had more than a few minutes to prepare). Astonishingly,
even when CAFCASS admit that a report contains inaccuracies, they
refuse to make rectification. This means that reports containing
inaccurate data are routinely laid before the court. Reports containing
inaccurate data are routinely accepted by the courts. Reports
containing inaccuracies are routinely kept by the court and may
be produced years later when the writer of the report is not available
for questioning. Children's lives are decided on the basis of
inaccurate, unfair and unbalanced reports. This alone invalidates
the work of CAFCASS.
8.3 Contacts orders must be abolished; non-contact
orders must replace them. Non-contact orders would be issued only
where there was a proven and real threat to a child's welfare
in the same way that those who misbehave have "non-contact"
orders preventing them from going to a football match or a pub.
The onus would be on one parent to prove why the other should
not have contactand in most cases, the reasons should be
significant enough to prevent that parent from having contact
with all children.
8.4 Unproven allegations would be ignored.
It should be for one parent to prove why the other should not
see a child, not for one parent to prove why he or she should
see their own child (that must be a given). They do not have to
when the parents are together, so why should they when the parents
are apart? How can one prove innocence?
8.5 We need to ensure that CAFCASS reports
are fair and balanced before they are placed before the court
and that they always recommend contact unless there is a very
good, proven reason why they should not.
9. WHAT HAPPENS
CAFCASS will be able to continue
to write nonsense and use whatever methodology they choose to
compile their reports
no report, no matter how ridiculous,
may be changed
no parent will be able to force CAFCASS
to change a word of a report even if it is scandalous
reports will continue to contain
lies, half truths, hearsay, unproven allegations and so on
the status quo will be maintained
parents may be affected for many
years by worthless reports which CAFCASS routinely lays before
10. WHAT WILL
CAFCASS will have to write accurate
reports (this will be a culture shock in itself)
all data in CAFCASS reports will
have to be checked for accuracy (I cannot believe that we have
to fight for this, nor that CAFCASS has the temerity to defend
it) something which CAFCASS does not do now
CAFCASS reports will have to be presented
to the parents well before the court case for them to consider
the accuracy. There will be disputes which may take time to resolve.
conclusions may only be based on
accurate, fair and balanced reports (Data Protection Act 1998)
decisions on the future of children's
lives (and parent's) would be based on accurate, fair, lawful
and balanced data
parents who have been the subject
of these reports containing inaccurate data would be entitled
to have the data rectified
11. WHAT WILL
CAFCASS IS ABOLISHED?
more children would see both parents
and vice versa
CAFCASS would not be overworked and
produce poor work because it would not exist
95% of cases agreed without court
actionas in Florida
family lawyers hardly needed
legal aid reduced to a nugatory level
when contact becomes the norm, many
disputes over financial support would disappearthe work
of the CSA would be reduced by 70% (if the US experience obtains
dramatic staff reductions at CAFCASS
(100%), courts and the CSA
judges could be used for other work
non-financial benefits would include
happier kids, happier parents and the knock-on effect to their
children, siblings and so on
lower crime rates as kids have more
male role models in their lives
more respect for the Law
11.1 It may be worth asking how much CAFCASS
spends on external legal services given that they have an in-house
legal teamand why.
11.2 Further details of this proposed new
system can be furnished. I did not want Committee Members to lose
the big picture.
12.1 CAFCASS are ideologically unable to
accept any new system. They would have to admit to being wrongand
they simply cannot allow this "heresy" to invade their
thinking. We do not want to change hearts and minds at CAFCASS.
12.2 No new system will succeed while CAFCASS
exists. CAFCASS and everyone who works for it must go. The new
system would have one main objectivehow to promote contact
between parents and children.
12.3 The future happiness of countless children
is at stake. It is stating the obvious to say that these children
are the future of our Country and they are damaged children. What
does the future hold for them? What does the future hold for our
Country? The system which obtains right now is nothing less than
Government-funded, State-sponsored child abuse. It is no exaggeration
to say that this is by far the biggest child abuse scandal that
this Country has ever seen or will see.
13. ANNEX A
The Data Protection Act 1998
13.1 Although it may seem prima facie, that
the Data Protection Act 1998 has little to do with the future
of CAFCASS, it demonstrates why CAFCASS must be abolished.
13.2 CAFCASS claims that it is subject to
the Data Protection Act 1998. Indeed it would be difficult for
it to claim otherwise given that the Act binds the Crown. However,
CAFCASS has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that any litigation
brought under Section 14 of that Act to rectify inaccurate data
(such as a CAFCASS officer's report on contact) will fail.
13.3 CAFCASS has a duty under this Act to
ensure the accuracy of data in a report. CAFCASS never
do this. Even when they admit that there are serious inaccuracies
in a report, they refuse to change a single word. They rely on,
"questioning" the CAFCASS officer in the family court.
However, until the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000,
there was no right to question; there was not even the right to
have the CAFCASS officer in court. Judges then would not allow
questioning and are very protective of CAFCASS officers. Parents
are restricted in their right to question. CAFCASS officers can,
in the family court, submit anything in their reports and do not
have to have any evidence to support their contentions. Their
entire report can be composed entirely of hearsay, unfounded allegations,
half truths and pure speculation.
13.4 In my case, for example, the crucial
"evidence" which persuaded the judge that I should never
see my daughter again consisted of statements such as, "she
would have done this, she would have thought this, this would
have happened". The officer was referring to events ten years
before she was involved in the case. She had not one shred of
evidence. In fact, the reverse was the case but she refused to
examine the evidence to show that she was wrong because that did
not fit the decision she had made before she met me. The Report
consisted of pure linguistic chicanery. A text book said that
these things happen; the CAFCASS officer says that "would
have" happened; because the CAFCASS officer says that "would
have" happened, they did. Fiction transmogrifies into fact.
13.5 Sadly, mine is not an isolated case.
This is routine for CAFCASS officers. This is how they operate
on a day-to-day basis.
13.6 The Data Protection Act 1998 provides
for data subjects affected by inaccurate personal data to have
them rectified. CAFCASS believes that "questioning"
is a substitute for "rectification". It is not. CAFCASS
believes that a Data Protection Act Section 14 action to have
data rectified cannot be brought because it is an abuse of the
court's process. However, there is no process in the family court
to rectify data. No amount of questioning will change one word
of a report simply because the issue before the court is one of
contact, not one of correcting inaccurate data. CAFCASS say one
thing in court, I say another, the judge scribbles. Period. The
judge never makes a decision on the accuracy of the data because
that is not the issue before the court. This is a very important
13.7 CAFCASS breach five of the eight principles
of the Data Protection Act 1998.
13.8 No one has a right to do wrong. Currently,
CAFCASS are trying to defend their right to do wrong. It is ultra
vires. They do not have the Statutory right to defend such a case
under the Act which set them up and they are ignoring their Statutory
Duty to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.
13.9 As CAFCASS are supposedly the court
appointed expert and as parents are rarely allowed to have an
expert of their own, the court must accept the report and conclusions
of the expert appointed by the court. Once the report is written,
it is a done deal. This is why we need to get to the report before
it comes to court.
13.10 Under the DPA (which CAFCASS
admits it is subject to) they must ensure the accuracy of data
before they are laid before the court and must rectify any inaccuracies
which are revealed in court. This Law applies to every body registered
under the DPA. However, CAFCASS are currently defending a case
which I have brought against them. Their Counsel has said, "there
may be no way to correct inaccurate data". CAFCASS are defending
their right to place inaccurate data before a court. CAFCASS are
defending their right to refuse to consider the veracity of data.
CAFCASS are refusing to rectify inaccurate data even when they
admit that the data are inaccurate. CAFCASS are defending their
right to do wrong, yet no one has a right to do wrong. CAFCASS
are trying to defend the indefensible. Can this be the right way
to operate a service which is supposed to help children?
13.11 It is astonishing that credit records
are subject to the Data Protection Act and that credit reference
agencies are required to have proof of the veracity of their data
whereas CAFCASS do not. Credit referencing agencies are anxious
to have their data as accurate as possible and are more than willing
to rectify inaccuracies. CAFCASS are not. Why is a credit record
more important than a child's life?
13.12 The EU Directive which instructed
member states to introduce legislation, states quite clearly that
the UK must introduce legislation which allows citizens
to correct inaccurate personal data. If there is no way for data
subjects to ensure the accuracy of personal data, then the UK
has failed to implement the EU Directive 95/46/EU which compelled
each Member State to pass data protection legislation allowing
this to happen.
13.13 One has to ask the question"why
is CAFCASS so determined not to have inaccurate data rectified?"
The answer is simple: they would, for the first time, be compelled
to place accurate data before the courts which they have never
done before. It would involve extra work. So, CAFCASS is exposed.
Their true objective is to put themselves before children. This
alone disqualifies them from having any further involvement with
13.14 How can courts justify failing to
hear cases and dismiss them without knowing what they are about?
How can CAFCASS justify a non-existent right to place inaccurate
data before the courts? Why are they fighting this case? How can
they justify fighting this case?
14. ANNEX B
Principles breached by CAFCASS:
"Personal data shall be processed fairly
"Personal data shall be obtained only for
one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further
processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those
"Personal data shall be adequate"
"Personal data shall be accurate"
"Personal data shall be processed in accordance
with the rights of the data subject"
15. ANNEX C
EU Directive 95/46/EC
Chapter II, Section 1, Article 6.1 (d)
"Member states shall provide that personal
data must be accurate"
EU Directive 95/46/EC
Chapter III, Article 22
"Member states shall provide for the right
of every person to judicial remedy for any breach of the rights
guaranteed by the national law applicable to the processing in
EU Charter of Fundamental Human Rights
"Everyone has the right of access to data
which have been collected concerning him or her and the right
to have them rectified"
Data Protection Act 1998
Schedule 1, Part 1, Paragraph 4
"Personal data shall be accurate"
Data Protection Act 1998
Schedule 1, Part 1, Paragraph 6
"Personal data shall be processed in accordance
with the rights of data subjects"
Data Protection Act 1998
Part 1I, Section 14
"If a court is satisfied on the application
of a data subject that personal data of which the applicant is
the subject are inaccurate, the court may order the data controller
to rectify, block, erase or destroy those data...."
"If the data controller is processing inaccurate
information about you, you have the right to have that information
amended or destroyed"
Human Rights Act 1998
"Everyone is entitled to a fair trial"
Human Rights Act 1998
"Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted
as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage
in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of
any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation
to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention"
16. ANNEX D
LEIGH MP'1S EARLY
"That this House believes that children
are best brought up with the full involvement of both their natural
parents and if possible, grandparents and members of their wider
family; that all children of separated parents are entitled to
the love, personal care and support of both their natural parents
in their everyday lives unless reason is shown otherwise; that
both parents have a duty to support the relationship of the children
with the other parent; that public and private institutions should
recognise both parents of children with whom they deal; that all
involved parties should seek to minimise any loss or damage done
by divorce or separation or alienation to children's relationship
with either of their parents or with their wider family; that
the rewards of, sacrifices of and resources devoted to parenting
should be fairly shared between the parents, and that public policy
should be adapted to remove obstacles to this objective."
17. ANNEX E
Assistant Organiser of the Conference held at
the Royal Society in March 2002 entitled, "Early InterventionsA
Framework for ContactInternational Perspectives".
Sir Anthony Hewson, Head of CAFCASS, was a delegate. A copy of
the Conference papers can be made available to the Committee.
Contributor to the Lord Chancellor's Department's
Report, "Making Contact Work"; you will find my name
at the back.
Independent Parliamentary candidate at the 2001
Member of the Chartered Management Institute
Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing
Member of the Market Research Society
Certificate in Education
Former European Board Member of the International
Newspaper Marketing Association
Former lecturer at Salford, Manchester Metropolitan
and Huddersfield Universities
Member of the House of Commons Debating Group
Paul R Morris MMRS MCMI MCIM Dip M Cert Ed
23 February 2003