chapter  6
28 Pages

In the Shadow of the Law

ByEmma Crewe

The courts were inclined to give priority to the resident parent whether mother or father because it benefits children, so the logical step was to inform people of this rather than change the law. Families Need Fathers liked the direction of travel and anticipated that even if decisions in the courts remained unchanged, parents in the shadow of the law would be influenced by the clause. Baroness Butler-Sloss worried that fighting on that one would be difficult, as non-lawyers will find the arguments about clashing presumptions obscure. Coram Children’s Legal Centre proposed the wording of their amendment, explaining that it had been put by the Opposition in the Commons, and suggested that if peers unified around one amendment it would have far more clout. The government press release made no mention of parental involvement, highlighting that the change of law includes ‘New child arrangements orders that will encourage parents to focus on the child’s needs rather than what they see as their own “rights”’.