Are Family Law Judges Fit For Purpose?

Researching Reform

One of Researching Reform’s interests is judicial bias – the extent to which judges allow their personal sentiments to dictate the way they handle their cases – so the recent furore over Justice Pauffley’s remarks about hitting children and cultural norms fascinated us.

Judicial bias is a very real, and present problem. All of us are prone to bias, and research suggests that even judges are not immune, regardless of how bright or how well educated.

Last year, one of our favourite judges, Baroness Hale, observed that judges lead sheltered lives and that this could in turn jeopardise their ability to adjudicate impartially, and with the necessary kind of life experience.

Justice Pauffley’s remarks, in which she told the court that foreign families who hit their children should be made allowances for due to cultural norms, seem odd given that hitting a child is still not illegal, and…

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