The Freeman and Common Law

I have been told if I declare myself a ‘Freeman’ that I don’t have to do what the court says and the court has no authority over me?

You need to be very careful about this. Over a number of years the ‘Freeman on the land’ movement has gathered numbers in countries that rely on ‘common law’.

Freeman on the land are also known as FMOTL, FOTL, “Footle” or simply freeman.

In essence, they say that they do not choose to be governed by the laws of their countries and that the courts therefore cannot make orders which impact on them without their consent.

There are a number of people you can find on line who will offer to sell you information about how to ‘resist’ the courts by using their arguments about common law or ‘natural law’.

A commonly advised strategy is to claim that all interactions between the state, courts, and individuals are contracts and that any attempt by the court to encourage an individual to engage with court proceedings is the court trying to form a contract,  which the individual can  reject and thus go on to  refuse even simple requests to sit, stand or acknowledge their identity within court proceedings.

Many ‘Freeman’ will not use the name on their birth certificate and refer to themselves, for example, as ‘John of the family Smith’ thus emphasising that they reject any attempt by the State to control them without their consent.

You can read more about the movement here. 

We would be very interested to learn of any family case where ‘Freeman’ arguments have been deployed and have met with success because at present we are not aware of any such case – in fact the reverse appears to be true; ‘Freeman’ arguments appear to be positively detrimental to people’s chances of success in the family (or any other) court.

 

What is common law?

‘Common law’ is the law made by the courts over many hundreds of years. As the courts made decisions, their rulings  in particular cases became useful indications of how to decide other arguments that followed and over time ‘common law’ developed as a collection of legal rules and principles that the courts would apply to all cases.

The doctrine of ‘precedent’ tries to ensure that the common law is applied in the same way by the different courts; the courts must follow the previous decisions of other courts unless it can be argued that the present situation can be ‘distinguished’ from other similar cases. Any decision of a more important court, such as the Court of Appeal, is binding upon any other lower court, so even if the lower court doesn’t agree with what the Court of Appeal said, they have to follow it.

What is statute law?

But as our society grew and got more complicated it required more central organisation and the role of the State as lawmaker increased in importance. Statute law is the law made by Acts of Parliament, such as the Children Act 1989. If a principle of common law conflicts with a clear statutory provision, the statute wins. However, common law is still relevant if there are any areas which haven’t been subject to statutory law, or if the statute is unclear or difficult to interpret.

 

The Myth of the Magna Carta

This plays an important role in Freeman philosophy and has been elevated to a status far beyond what it actually represents. Ironically, this myth has taken firm hold in the minds of ‘common people’  – who were excluded from the benefits of the Charter ‘by design for over 100 years’ – see Lord Mostyn below.

For further explanation about the Magna Carta, see this blog post or this one. In essence, It was a list of demands to King John in 1215 from various noblemen, to which he reluctantly agreed. Article XXIX is often cited in support of arguments that the courts or Parliament cannot force people to do things they have not consented to do:

NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

Mr Justice Mostyn offers a masterly and detailed examination of ‘Magna Carta and Access to Justice in Family Proceedings’ in a lecture in June 2015; demonstrating how the ‘myth’ developed of the Magna Carta as the ‘foundation document of the English constitution’ when instead, it was little more than a ‘technical catalogue of feudal regulations’, for example,  that all fish- weirs were to be removed from the Thames and elsewhere. No-one was to be forced to build bridges across rivers.  He cites Lord Sumption’s comments at para 29 and 30:

So when we commemorate Magna Carta, perhaps the first question that we should ask ourselves is this: do we really need the force of myth to sustain our belief in democracy? Do we need to derive our belief in democracy and the rule of law from a group of muscular conservative millionaires from the north of England, who thought in French, knew no Latin or English, and died more than three quarters of a millennium ago? I rather hope not… Yet Magna Carta matters, if not for the reasons commonly put forward. Some documents are less important for what they say than for what people wrongly think that they say. Some legislation has a symbolic significance quite distinct from any principle which it actually enacts. Thus it is with Magna Carta. It has become part of the rhetoric of a libertarian tradition based on the rule of law that represents a precocious and distinctively English contribution to western political theory. The point is that we have to stop thinking about it just as a medieval document. It is really a chapter in the constitutional history of seventeenth century England and eighteenth century America.

 

What are the ‘Freeman’ saying about the law?

But the typical freeman is not overly concerned by facts or history. The Magna Carta has become the lodestone of their philosophy that, as ‘freemen’ they do not have to obey ‘fictitious laws’  One Freeman describes it in this way (see Fmotl.com)

What is a Freeman-on-the-land? Well, it isn’t someone who remains outside the law. No-one is outside the law, so this is not a proposition for anarchy. But – it all depends on what is meant by ‘law’. And that’s the catch. What you have grown up to assume is ‘the law’ is not, in point of fact, the law. That’s The Grand Deception. Hitler was right: “If the lie is big enough, the People will fall for it”.Once you know the deception, and what the law actually is, you’ll realise how the wool has been firmly and deliberately pulled over your eyes, your parent’s eyes, and those of everyone you know.

The operation of the law is described in this way:

The law can give rise to a FICTION, but a fiction cannot give rise to a law. Consequently a legal fiction called THE GOVERNMENT has no power to make LAW. It is, in point of fact, BOUND BY LAW (like everyone else, and including all other legal fictions). PARLIAMENT is another legal fiction entity. Statutes created by Parliament are not, therefore, the LAW. They are ‘legislated rules for a society’ and ONLY APPLICABLE TO MEMBERS OF THAT SOCIETY. Join a different society, and you would be bound by a different set of rules. (If this were not the case it would be impossible to become, for example, a Freemason and be bound by the rules of Freemasonry). Statutes are nothing more than the Company Policy of THE UNITED KINGDOM CORPORATION, or THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CORPORATION, etc. (See ‘society’, below)

Only a sovereign flesh and blood human being, with a living soul, has a Mind. Only something with a Mind is capable of devising a CLAIM. Legal fictions are soulless, and do not possess a distinct Mind. They cannot, therefore, in LAW, make a CLAIM.

Consequent to the foregoing, and since the Judiciary in a court de facto derives all its power from colour-of-law/Statutes, then no court de facto has any power over you as a sovereign human being, IN FACT (although, of course, they don’t bother to tell you!). A court de jure is the only kind of court to which you are subject under Common Law, and there are none of those left (unless you insist that the court operates de jure, by demanding a Trial by Jury. But they will attempt to resist that with every fibre in their ‘corporate’, soulless, ‘bodies’).

What is the problem with using Freeman arguments in a family court?

The family court can and will enforce its orders against you

The family court does not accept that Parliament is a ‘legal fiction’  or that the Magna Carta operates to remove their jurisdiction. Thus, the family court can do nothing other than follow the relevant statute law and case law which dictates what it must do when making decisions about children.

The family court has very significant powers – such as removing your children from your care – in order to meet its statutory obligations. Thus the family court has both the will and the means to enforce its orders, with the assistance of the police if necessary.

 

You risk not being able to make arguments in court that will benefit your family

The family court can make orders even if you attend court and say you will not engage because you are a Freeman on the land. You will risk losing the opportunity to be heard about what you think is best for your children.

Therefore, you need to give very careful consideration to whether or not attempting to mount a Freeman on the land argument is actually going to help your family. It is particularly important to be very wary of anyone who wants you to pay them money  for any documents or advice on how to conduct a family case.

If you are a parent in care proceedings then you will be entitled to non means, non merits tested public funding to instruct the lawyer of your choice.

See our post from a family law barrister about her role.

If you do want to represent yourself in court, you may be interested in our post about litigants in person – what if I don’t have a lawyer?

 

Views from Judges, bloggers and psychiatrists

You may be interested in this blog post by Adam Wagner of the Human Rights blog, where he considers the Freeman movement and comments:

This movement is not just silly, it is also dangerous, and seemingly gaining popularity through numerous internet sites. I can provide two recent examples where it definitely did not help, and probably did harm to, people in the justice system.

The first is the case of Elizabeth Watson and Victoria Haigh, the former of which was sentenced to 9 months in prison (later suspended) for publishing details online about sex abuse allegations made by Ms Haigh against her child’s father. Haigh’s case was taken up by John Hemming MP, and was one of the “super-injunctions” he revealed using Parliamentary privilege. She was ultimately found by the most senior family judge to be a fabricator who had coached her daughter to lie about being abused by her ex-partner.

Both Haigh and Watson considered themselves Freemen of the Land, who attempted to step outside of the system. It seems likely that at least in Watson’s case, her belief that she had “stepped outside of the system” led to her brazenly to flout contempt laws for as long as she did.

My second example arose when I did jury service last month (a generally positive experience – see my comment on it here). One of the trials involved a defendant who was accused of stealing sports cars. When we entered the court, the judge told us that the defendant had released his legal team and was denying the court’s jurisdiction. He refused to cross-examine witnesses – rather, he used the opportunity to ask the judge whether his jurisdiction arose from maritime law – and his closing statement involved the reading of a latin phrase and stating that he was the “official representative of the legal fiction known as…”

We found the Defendant guilty on 7 of 8 counts, and I will not say anything about our reasoning. I do suspect that the car stealing Defendant’s bizarre and misguided defence influenced the judge’s sentencing, and I also imagine that if he had retained his representation he may have pleaded guilty in any event. Either way, he probably went to prison for longer as a result of his attempt to trying to “step outside of the system“.

 

See this comment from a Canadian Judge, which we discuss in more detail below:

OPCA (Organised Pseduolegal Commercial Argument) strategies as brought before this Court have proven disruptive, inflict unnecessary expenses on other parties, and are ultimately harmful to the persons who appear in court and attempt to invoke these vexatious strategies. Because of the nonsense they argue, OPCA litigants are invariably unsuccessful and their positions dismissed, typically without written reasons.

Thus there is a serious risk that If you concentrate on making your arguments about why the court should recognise you as a ‘Freeman’ then any relevant arguments you do have about how the law should be applied in your child’s case, will not get heard.

There is a further risk that if you display the stereotypical behaviour of a ‘Freeman’, such as reliance on pseuduolegal language this may even raise doubts about your mental health and your ability to understand and participate in proceedings.

There is an interesting article from The International Journal of Forensic Mental Health in 2013 which considered the presentation of the Sovereign Citizens Movement in Canada, which follows the ‘Freeman’ philosophy. The authors conclude that the majority of ‘Sovereign Citizens’ present with many features that mimic psychotic features of mental illness.

The Sovereign Citizen movement supports a number of unusual beliefs that may be mistaken for psychotic symptomatology. These individuals present with many features which may appear psychotic in nature, including bizarre and paranoid beliefs as well as unusual speech and behavior. Despite this compelling psychotic mimicry, it is the authors’ opinion that the majority are not truly psychotic. Timely recognition and accurate assessment of Sovereign Citizen patients is crucial in order to minimize harm in the form of unnecessary treatment and hospitalization, as well as delays in court proceedings incurred by questions such as whether they are Unfit to Stand Trial. This paper provides a descriptive profile of distinguishing features which may be observed when assessing a Sovereign Citizen patient, with an emphasis on clinical presentation, diagnostic challenges, and management-related issues.

The Canadian response – Organised Pseduolegal Commerical Arguments

We discuss the Canadian response in more detail here.

There is a very interesting decision from a Canadian judge here, where he discusses at length the problems caused by such ‘Organised Pseudolegal Commercial Argument’ (OPCA) . He is particularly troubled by the impact of various ‘gurus’ in this field, who charge money for their services.

The judge also set down standards for any future dealings with OPCA litigants:

[256] Given the intrinsically vexatious nature of OPCA methodologies, which I review in detail below, it is appropriate that a court adopt special procedures for documents that show OPCA indicia, which may include:

1. that court clerks reject the materials that do not conform with required standards; 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII) 60

2. that the court clerks accept and mark these materials as ‘received’ rather than ‘filed’; and

3.that materials that disclose OPCA characteristics may be reviewed by a judge without further submission or representation by the litigants, and that the judge may:

  • declare that the litigation, application, or defence is frivolous, irrelevant or improper (Rule 3.68(2)(c)), or an abuse of process (Rule 3.68(2)(d)), also Canam Enterprises Inc v. Coles, (2000), 51 O.R. (3d) 481 (Ont. C.A.) at paras 55-56, affirmed 2002 SCC 63, [2002] 3 S.C.R. 307;
  • order that the documents are irrelevant to the substance of the litigation, but are only retained on file as evidence that is potentially relevant to costs against the OPCA litigant, vexatious status of the litigation and litigant, and/or whether the litigant has engaged in criminal or contemptuous misconduct.
  • reject the documents and order that if the litigant wishes to continue its action, application, or defence, the litigant then file replacement documentation that conforms to court formalities and does not involve irrelevant OPCA arguments;
  • order that the litigant appear a before the court in a ‘show cause’ hearing to prove the litigant has an action or defence that is recognized in law; that hearing need not involve participation of the other party or parties; and
  • assign fines, as authorized by Rule 10.49(1).

The Judge also warned that OPCA litigants are known to engage in disruptive and inappropriate in-court conduct and thus it may be necessary to increase in-court security.

 

If the Freeman on the land movement continues to gain momentum in the UK, it may be that our courts have to consider similar responses.

 

31 thoughts on “The Freeman and Common Law

  1. Truth Seeker

    “The family court has very significant powers – such as removing your children from your care – in order to meet its statutory obligations. Thus the family court has both the will and the means to enforce its orders, with the assistance of the police if necessary.”

    Sounds like might is right thinking. Seems like governments make the rules up as they go and then get the goons to force their will on the people, even to steal their children. Who wants that kind of tyranny? Especially when more and more links between “child protective agencies” and high level elites (including members of parliament and the judiciary) and pedophile rings are being discovered.

    Be warned: the author is either grossly ignorant of the truth about governments, courts, the monetary system, and who exactly runs the world OR is a shill trying to lead people off the correct track to justice and right thinking.

    But don’t believe me, do your own research and engage your brain, you’ll arrive at the same conclusion that any half-way intelligent man or woman will, ie. that the world is operated by corporate thugs hell bent on bringing the entire planet under a one world government.

    Didn’t JFK try and warn the American people about powerful secret societies? Didn’t JFK attempt to usurp the Federal Reserve Bank (a privately owned bank) by issuing silver backed currency? Wasn’t he soon after assassinated? Coincidence or conspiracy, you be the judge.

    Don’t listen to the baloney in this post, it is utterly wrong, written by someone who either hasn’t done their research with an open mind, or by someone with an agenda to push. Think for yourself because that’s the only thing that will save you in the end.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am neither ‘grossly ignorant’ nor a ‘shill’ – but if people want to believe either one of those things, nothing I can say or do will convince them otherwise because they are clearly either extremely closed minded or very stupid.

      But I do agree with one thing posted by Truth Seeker – think for yourself and keep an open mind. And one thing you might want to have a think about is how many Freeman have succeeded in family courts by running a Freeman philosophy. At the moment, I am pretty sure its none at all.

      Reply
    2. Janogo

      I agree. Do the research. I did and I was blown away by what it revealed. The Freemen arguments are even weirder than I first thought. All their arguments are based on paranoid delusions, and belief in conspiracies. They espouse pseudoegal (Dog-Latin) arguments distorted from unsustainable interpretations of the Constitution and ancient documents.

      Reply
  2. angelo granda

    QUOTE: There is a further risk that if you display the stereotypical behaviour of a ‘Freeman’, such as reliance on pseuduolegal language this may even raise doubts about your mental health and your ability to understand and participate in proceedings: UNQUOTE

    Is it quite by chance that this thread was replied to by truth seeker this weekend?

    I hadn’t seen this article before but it is interesting. I can see the possibility that Judges and lawyers might refuse to consider and ignore the views of parents or any person who is not a qualified lawyer.

    There is no doubt that ordinary folk, albeit involuntarily, are in the position sometimes where they have to imitate or mimic the language ( professional jargon) used by lawyers and social workers. One has to try and speak to them in the language they understand.
    It could quite easily be suggested they are pseuds.Indeed who is to say the sometimes pseudolegal language I use is not symtomatic of mental illness?

    Think about it ,Sarah, if you haven’t already. You could pseudomutually discount any opinions put by lay persons you disagree with.

    Of course, that might not lead to fair solutions to problems. I wonder whose task it will be to assess the extent or seriousness of a parent’s use of pseudolegal language? A lawyer or a psychologist?

    What about pseudointellectuality? Antagonists may quite easily allege that of each other.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      The belief that the Magna Carta somehow renders the Children Act inapplicable (as Freeman believe) is, like homeopathy, an utterly crazy notion, tolerance of which exceeds the limits of an open mind.

      therefore I do not tolerate it. I have seen it bring only misery and failure to those parents desperate enough to try it.

      Reply
    2. Straw and Heart

      There is no one more incarcerated than those who think they are free.
      Let’s suppose for a moment that all so called laws are totally legit and reasonable,
      That the people that make these laws are citizens concerned with our welfare!!!
      And the good of mankind as a whole!
      If that’s the case, why do we have laws that oppress, suppress, and rob the poorest of our society of the little means that they have?
      Not paying the criminal Council Tax for one.
      Many people cannot afford to put a decent meal on the table, let alone pay this fraudulent tax, I say that because it is not a tax at all. We are being deceived into believing it is a tax, so we are scared witless about not paying it!
      When a government becomes a ‘tyrant’ we have no obligation to withhold its supremacy, we must denounce it and be non-compliant. The UK government has become a nothing, it is the EU evil that governs all in the UK now. Even the queen herself us a traitor to her country, by letting a foreign entity enslave and dictate to its parliament. Still think all law is to be obeyed??? Do your homework!!!!!

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        No. I don’t think all law is to be blindly obeyed. But what you need to realise that if you DON’T obey the law there are usually consequences and they can be pretty severe.

        All this argument about whether or not the law is ‘legitimate’ reminds me of tedious sixth form debates about whether the table holding up my drink was really ‘real’ or just a table I ‘perceived’. I don’t give a monkeys. Its holding up my drink, if I kick it, it will hurt my foot. Therefore, in every way that matters to me it is ‘real’. Exactly the same with the law. Those who make it and – more importantly – those who ENFORCE it believe it is legitimate.

        You can spend your time and energy dancing around the Magna Carta on a full moon and declaring that the family courts are not ‘legitimate’ if you so wish. I can’t stop you. But your desire to show they are not ‘legitimate’ by means of bogus Freeman arguments will do nothing other than make the Judge doubt your mental health. And you are highly likely to lose your case.

        Better by far to use your energies and abilities to actually making a positive change in the world – campaign to improve/change the laws you don’t like. Or carry on supporting Freeman idiocies. As you wish. But don’t come on my site and tell ME to respect any of it.

        Reply
        1. Willyb0ne

          Weak argument in the article, weak argument’s in the comments from you Sarah.

          You managed to refrain from outright honest mocking in your article – you covered it well with the psychological health problems bit from the Canadian but I can recognise how dangerously ignorant your implication here is. My advise is NOT to look to ‘psychologists’ doctors and dentists for advice on human health and wellness – they are all just industries giving more reason to prescribe procedures, programs and drugs – they have armies of ‘scientists’ and ‘researchers’ working to feed a very passive non investigative media. People like yourself, are seen coming a mile off by these people.

          But in your response to comments you let slip the open mocking of the ‘freemen’ you have been inspired to write about and discredit yourself greatly as simply another text book quoting university graduate with no mind of her own yet developed. I do not say this with the intent of offending but say this as an older person who remembers what it’s like to be young and still under the spell. Jesus releases us from the spell I assure you.

          Firstly, the spirit of freeman is absolutely spot on. The spirit of our government has long been compromised by the illegal wars it has engaged in.

          People like you are simply saying “do what your told or get beaten up. It’s not smart to get beaten up when you can just do what you’re told”.

          Freemen (of which I am not one) are saying “you are a free human being regardless of what the descendants of the British Empire would have you think – and no human will have issue with you unless you kill or harm someone, or damage something of theirs. And that Royal Family who demand you pay them who you neither voted for or elected democratically – they are failing on their side of the contract they accepted when they took the oath needed to inherit the very privileged and important position within British society that they hold and we all pay for so therefore we withdraw our consent to be governed by them or labour for them.”

          The examples you give of failed freeman tactics are terrible – and no freeman would claim that these individuals who have broken COMMON LAW by harming and stealing from others would stand a chance exercising freeman rights.

          The Freeman movement refers to the very same documents as the Law Society and ‘plays the same game’ – it simply informs people of the wider lesser known rules of that game by opening to the public those documents and dictionaries to those outside but involved with those societies.

          We’ve all seen the youtube victories in the face of Court Bailif’s and in the face of pissy police officers. We can all look at demands to fill in tax returns and clearly see there are no legal OR lawful implications or compulsions – simply a very forceful and belligerent request with thinly veiled but ultimately empty threats attached to the rest of the corporate legalese jargon.

          This attempt at discrediting the freeman movement only portrays you as a dangerous goody two shoes unable to question her betters and benefactors as I do not believe you have any more sinister motives as implied but he accusations of shillery.

          Just think how astoundingly powerful and capable the rich and wealthy are – now look at the world and tell me that those rich and powerful have ANY interest in you or anyone else’s wellbeing and freedom.

          Reply
          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Freeman are idiots and those who peddle their idiocy to the weak and vulnerable are dangerous idiots.

            Those are my views, based on logic reason and fact and if you don’t like them, that’s your privilege but don’t expect me to care.

            Of course I don’t think the rich and powerful have any interest other than their own riches and power. I am not an idiot. But why therefore do I have to then respect some utterly bonkers philosophy based on misunderstanding of both history and law?

  3. Sam

    I may have been dead lucky in this respect, but none of the lawyers who represented me communicated in anything other than plain english. What they did do was use abbreviations and jargon IRH CMO etc, but doesn’t everyone in a particular group or profession.

    Reply
    1. angelo granda

      Yes,Sam but Sarah mentioned at one point that she was interested in my choice of language. Having read this thread carefully for the first time, I think I can see more clearly where she is coming from.
      I do hope she isn’t a pseudopsychologist or she will already have written me off as barmy.

      In fact anyone who disagrees with her expert advice and keeps plugging away without giving up.The curious world of family proceedings lawyers,eh! I think I know now why she seems so preoccupied with conspiracy theories and the like although I suppose we can’t blame her when you consider some of the things written by others.

      It would be a very stupid electrician who ignored the complaints of a customer who did not use professional jargon correctly.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        My beef isn’t with people who disagree with my ‘expert advice’. As I have shown on this site, I am always grateful to be corrected when I have got things wrong or for better information to be provided by people who know better.

        What I find profoundly irritating and tiresome is for people to insist on repeating as ‘fact’ things which are demonstrably untrue – such as the family court does not rely on facts and evidence/ all lawyers who have ever acted for a LA are in their pocket etc, etc, depressing etc. Those will get short shrift from me.

        Reply
  4. Sam

    I obviously can’t answer for Sarah as I am not a mind reader. I do know she started this site in order to remedy some of the wrong advice that is on the internet regarding care proceedings and conspiracy theories comes into that. I also know that she has helped a number of people including myself and tried both to widen the debate and find solutions.
    I do not always agree with her , she doesn’t always agree with me because we come at the subject from different perspectives. and we are allowed to have different opinions anyway. It’s free will. I am though very grateful that she is prepared to run the site, because without trawling through a law book or two there is nowhere else with such depth of information which is accessible and readable by ordinary people.
    Believe me Angelo I also understand where you are coming from also. I know the frustration and the pain. I am not a pseudo psychologist, I have just had to work hard both for myself and my children at understanding why we got in this mess in the first place , how to dig out of the hole and stay out of it. Some of that has included getting educated about psychology. Someone taught me the tool of living in the grey, it replaces the black and white thinking tool which arises from fear. I do not always do it successfully but I am trying. One of my children is ASD and they are also learning how to live in the grey , partly through my example but more through the absolutely wonderful special school they attend and the effort they have put in..I am so proud of them, which I of course told them.What’s more my Mum is proud of me, and it doesn’t matter what age you are that’s still important.
    We all want the system to change for the better. In my view lawyers just tend to think in the grey rather than in black and white professionally. I don’t know how they react in their personal lives. that’s up to them.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      What we all agree about is that we want the system to change for the better.

      There is so much seriously wrong with it that we simply don’t have time to waste with nonsense assertions such as ‘the family court doesn’t deal in facts’.

      Which explains my testiness when these assertions are continually raised and I am continually asked to answer them. I have, at length. I am not doing it any more.

      This may help you understand further my testiness and the awful damage done by the Conspiracy Theorists. It seems that even hitheto sensible sources are infected by this horrible ‘lowest common denominator’ kind of ‘debate’.

      http://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/a-lie-can-get-round-the-world-before-the-truth-has-put-its-boots-on/

      While we waste time with this appalling nonsense, we are doing nothing to effect any real and lasting change.

      Also – if you continue to wish to assert that the UK system is fundamentally flawed, read this. I particularly liked para 3.2.2.
      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/519236/IPOL_STU(2015)519236_EN.pdf

      I apologise if I upset anyone with my comments. But you have to accept that I run this site in my spare time, on my own money and if I want to be blunt I am damn well going to be blunt.

      Reply
      1. angelo granda

        Sarah,you should do what I do and don’t bother reading the rubbish. You can usually tell crazy theorists and deluded dogmatists from the first few lines.
        I don’t even know what a freeman is and quite frankly I am not interested . I just despair when you fail to understand the blatantly obvious when you seem otherwise reasonable.
        When sw’s fail to follow procedure and establish the facts.THEY HAVE TO MAKE THEM UP! What else can they do but guess? That is why the Court does not make its decisions on facts. It only sees what it thinks are facts.

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I wish it were that simple. Have you read the article by Caroline Selkirk (CEO of BAAF)? It shows clearly why telling untruths matters. Because some people will believe them.

          I can’t be bothered to try to debunk your last part AGAIN. The court sees FACTS. The SW gives their interpretation of these facts. I will give mine on behalf of parents. A child with a broken bone is a FACT. A mother with a black eye is a FACT. Parents who have been addicted to drugs for 20 years are a FACT.

          Yes, you can argue that they should have got more, better, different, quicker help and support. But you can’t argue against those facts.

          Do you understand my impatience. Its as if I have written many, many blog posts about my dog who is in a bad way and we really need to get him to the vets. Whereupon others respond – but that’s not a dog! that’s a goldfish. Let me tell you about your goldfish.

          Not helpful.

          Reply
          1. Willyb0ne

            You could argue that nobody has any damn right over your own kids – they didn’t create them, they didn’t carry them to term, they didn’t give birth to them and they didn’t feed, cloth or house them, they don’t educate them nor do they discipline them.

            And don’t mention state schools, police, benefits etc….

            Many of us NEVER use any of them.

          2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Yup. Well spotted. No one has any ‘right’ over their children. They have responsibilities to care for them and protect them, but that doesn’t make the children the chattels of any adult.

            If you live full time in a yurt, you never walk on a publicly maintained road, never go to the shops to buy whatever electronic equipment you compose your comments on etc, etc, then you get to play the role of the great rebel who is just not part of any society. But I suspect you don’t fall into that category.

    2. angelo granda

      I also respect Sarah for setting up the CPR but I think she is idealistic ( naïve) about the integrity of social workers as are judges.Of course, parents are not so green! It is so frustrating.

      We are more realistic about some of her lawyer colleagues too. Carol Bird complained about being trapped by a conspiracy of lawyers not sw’s. I can believe her.

      All the lawyers have a duty to keep a case on track. Yet in many cases not one out of the lot of them report vital flaws to the judge. I refuse to use the word conspiracy but they certainly contrive to make hearings unfair.

      Reply
  5. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    After 15 years in the business and also by virtue of not being an idiot, I am not remotely naive about issues around the integrity of professionals. But I assert that those who are actively and deliberately malevolent are few and far between – thankfully. The real problems are down to systems failure through lack of investment, training, resources, supervision, management etc, etc.

    Your third paragraph I simply reject. It bears no resemblance to the reality I meet day in day out.

    At some point you are going to have to engage with my arguments and not simply dismiss anything I say with which you do not agree as indicative of my innocence and naivety.

    Reply
  6. Sam

    This is what jumped out at me

    “Under the Children Act 1989, Local Authorities are under a general duty to safeguard
    the welfare of children within their area who are “in need”,
    16 and so far as is
    consistent with this, to promote their upbringing by their families, by providing a range of
    services (s17(1)). Such services include providing temporary (voluntary) accommodation
    where needed, but also facilities such as day care and after-school care; advice, guidance
    and counselling; occupational social, cultural or recreational activities; home help, including
    laundry and other household tasks; assistance for the child and family to have a holiday;
    financial assistance in the form of a loan, cash payments or payments in kind; and family
    centres.
    As such, the first step for any Local Authority if it realises that a family is in difficulty is to
    consider the provision of voluntary assistance, before compulsory action is
    contemplated. However, there will obviously be cases where this is not an adequate
    response, and the Children Act also sets out the basis for intervention with the family”

    I think this is what is not happening, SOME local authorities completely miss out voluntary assistance.They do not do the first step but jump straight to the second.

    “The UK Supreme Court has made clear that although the child’s interests are
    paramount at this stage, this does not mean that the birth family is completely
    sidelined. The courts’ consideration of the child’s welfare must include recognition of the
    interest that the child has in being brought up by his or her natural family, and any
    assessment of the parents’ capacity to meet the child’s needs must include a consideration
    of the support that the state could offer them in doing so.32 It is in this light that the
    court will consider whether a child needs to be removed from the family environment,
    either temporarily, or on a more permanent basis”

    This may be happening in court cases now, but once again in some cases over the preceding years hasn’t

    “We can thus see that there is a tension between leaving children in public care, where
    the outcomes for children are dire, and the placement of children for adoption
    without parental consent. There is no doubt that many children do not thrive in public
    care in England, and thus leaving them in this environment is detrimental to their welfare.
    The response has been to place more children in adoption, rather than to address the
    reasons why public care is so harmful. Statistics on the number of children in public care in
    England are set out in Annex ”

    If we know children do not thrive in public care why do they not start looking at alternatives . I suppose you could argue the rise in use of SGO’s means they are.

    “Recommendations to the UK Government:
    ? That adequate financial and human resources be allocated to local authorities
    to be able to fulfil their duties in relation to child protection, and that such services
    be protected in times of austerity.
    o The government must ensure that social services are adequately staffed with
    qualified personnel who are paid appropriately for their work.
    Adoption without consent
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    47
    ? That families continue to be provided with assistance where they are experiencing
    difficulty, in order to prevent, where possible, children being taken into public care.
    In particular:
    o Authorities should ensure that all families are able to practically access
    offered services, and that language is not a barrier in this respect.
    ? That the right of the child to communicate in their own language with their
    family be recognised, including:
    o That children be permitted to communicate with their parents and family
    members in their native language;
    o That adequate resources be allocated to ensure that appropriately qualified
    interpreters are available for the purposes of the social worker.
    ? That greater emphasis be placed on improving the outcomes for children in
    public care, and developing alternatives to adoption for children who cannot
    return to their families.”

    In some local authorities is not that families should continue to be provided with assistance, they should actually be offered some in the first place. Yep I am starting to go into black and white thinking. Back into the grey then. Would Children’s Services be better if funded nationally, then there would not be a postcode lottery. At the moment the areas of the greatest need have the least resources.

    Reply
  7. angelo granda

    Sam , Thanks for your advice. I don’t think it fair for me to hang around CPR if it irritates its founder and patron so much.
    Unfortunately, in my opinion, I doubt that she will ever accept that her attitude and that of her colleagues form a major part of the problem which needs to be solved.

    We are all disgusted when we see drug-addiction and domestic violence. However the Law decrees that appraisals of even drug addicts and criminals are to be fair and impartial. It is an iniquity for SW’ to prejudge a case on the strength of one or two elephants.It a clear infringement of Articles 6 and 8 if procedural safeguards are not “in place and observed’.
    The lawyers collectively fail in their duty when they don’t afford families these strict safeguards and that is just as iniquitous!

    I am afraid I see a level of prejudgement in Sarahs attitude aswell. She has asserted harshly that it is necessary to liquidate families in cases of serious neglect.Yet the Law intends that natural families are best.

    I won’t repeat it again for fear of irritating you all. Don’t expect the sw’s and lawyers to desist from churning out their own tiresome cliches though.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Don’t worry about the impact of being irritated on me; I have endured much worse for much longer believe me.
      She has asserted harshly that it is necessary to liquidate families in cases of serious neglect.Yet the Law intends that natural families are best.

      Natural families are NOT ‘best’ when the children in them have suffered or at risk of suffering significant harm. That is the LAW.
      Where we are failing, I have accepted, is in providing enough of the right kind of timely support and intervention that could actually help families.
      But no where will you find a LAW that asserts ‘birth families are best!’ Full Stop. Because sadly, for many thousands of children, battered, sexually abused or even dead, their birth family was not the place of love, safety and refuge that they were entitled to expect but a place of horror and abuse.

      You don’t seem to want to accept that, ergo our debate runs down a cul de sac. I say ‘dog’ you say ‘goldfish’.

      Reply
  8. Sam

    Not only do families need support but scrutiny of social work practice does need to tightened up.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-32992861
    I would suspect no charges have been brought or the social workers reported to their regulatory body.
    Yes I know this relates to a criminal sexual abuse case, is it not all the more important then that evidence is not tampered with.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      If the social workers are being criticised in the context of a criminal trial, then I would have thought it inevitable that they will be reported to their professional body. Or do these criticisms relate to activities in 2010? If the police could not proceed with a prosecution in 2010 I would be interested to know what has now changed their mind.

      This is an interesting example – so many people critical of the current child protection system say it should be akin to the criminal system with a higher standard of proof and a jury – well, this is what we have in this case. But I am receiving emails about this case by campaigners who are very unhappy. So I am left wondering what some people actually want. If the rigours of the criminal evidential test and the decision of a jury aren’t good enough, what is? What kind of system do we want to test allegations about people who hurt children?

      Reply
  9. Sam

    I think what we need is honesty . It would be great if a serving social worker contributed an article about their working life. I know they are under enormous pressure, I suspect there is a culture of bullying in some local authorities. Some have mental health problems themselves and a number self medicate through alcohol abuse. Some may be coping , I don’t know
    What do social workers see as the main problems can some one please answer?

    Reply
  10. phil

    What is flawed is this is a site not registered to a real address. Nominet was not able to match the registrant’s name and/or address against a 3rd party source on 01-Feb-2014 i.e {address redacted}DOES NOT exist.
    The site is registered to
    Jonathan Robinson
    {address redacted}

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I do not host this website. I can’t comment on Mr Robinson’s address.

      However, I am responsible for the content of this site. I either write it, edit it or approve it prior to publication. So I don’t see what Mr Robinson’s address has to do with anything.

      If you want my address it is St Johns Chambers, 101 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6PU.

      Reply
  11. stephen

    This is nothing but ignorant hogwash. I know a guy from America who had his children taken away but eventually got them back using the freemen arguments.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Please do post in lingering detail exactly how he achieved this – or I am afraid I will not believe you.

      Reply

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