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Entries in court delay (2)

Wednesday
Jul202016

Poland penalised for court delays in resolving father's contact dispute 

The European Court of Human Rights has awarded a Polish father compensation after ruling that Poland breached Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.  In the judgement Malec v Poland as reported in Family Law Week the ECHR awarded Mr Malec 7,000 euros in damages and 5,000 euros to cover his legal costs.

The parents separated in 2008, and when contact problems developed the father obtained an interim contact order in November 2010.  His contact with his child became irregular and the conflict between the parents escalated. Subsequently, between May 2011 and January 2012 almost no contact took place. Afterwards, contact took place irregularly, usually only on weekdays and without any overnight stays.

A court appointed guardian pointed out in her report in July 2009 that a "speedy regulation of contact visits between the child and the father is recommended", but it took the domestic court two years to issue an interim contact order. Subsequently, as of May 2011, it had become impossible to have any contact visits.

When the Mr Malec's former wife failed to comply with the court contact orders, the applicant began to file enforcement claims with the District Court. He filed over 50 such requests and they eventually resulted in the District Court ordering the mother to comply with the access arrangements and to the imposition of fines on two occasions, only one being collected by May 2013.  

The ECHR judgement states that: " ... a lack of cooperation between parents who have separated is not a circumstance which can of itself exempt the authorities from their positive obligations under Article 8. It rather imposes on the authorities an obligation to take measures that would reconcile the conflicting interests of the parties, keeping in mind the paramount interests of the child".

FNFS has raised this judgement with the Scottish Courts in connection with our concerns about delays both in the hearing of cases and the issuing judgements.

Monday
Jun042012

Lord Reed calls for faster child welfare cases

Lord ReedSupreme Court judge Lord Reed has called for reform of court and legal aid procedures following the recent judgement in the "million pound" child contact case.

His comments appear in the Herald following the Supreme Court decisionin the appeal from the NJDB v JEB case, in which evidence was taken over 52 days in Stirling Sheriff Court.

Although this case is an extreme example of what can happen n the courts when things go really wrong, sheriff court cases concerning child contact, residence and parental rights and responsibilities can often be expensive and protracted.

These issues account for over 60% of the expenditure on civil legal aid in Scottish courts - nearly £20 million per year.  Families Need Fathers Scotland supports Lord Reed's call for speedier court cases.