Case Law: R(Ben-Dor) v The University of Southampton: Censorship or justified Concern? – Dominic Ruck Keene

“Accordingly, Whipple J held that the two main issues before the Court were the factual question as to why the University had withdrawn its permission to hold the conference, and secondly whether the cancellation was a proportionate response to any risks identified.”

Inforrm's Blog

southampton_1912501bIn the case of R(Ben-Dor & Ors) v The University of Southampton[2016] EWHC 953 (Admin)) Mrs Justice Whipple dismissed one claim for judicial review, and refused permission to bring a further claim, in respect of decisions made by Southampton University regarding a proposed conference on the legality of the existence of Israel under international law.

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London Recognises Parental Alienation: Update from the debate

Karen Woodall

imageThe first of its kind? London legal people gather to listen to the Parental Alienation debate at Withersworldwide.

Last night was a bit of a turning point in the politics of parental alienation, or so it seemed to me. From where I was sitting on the panel, alongside Dr Mark Berelowitz and Stephen Jarmain, Deborah Eaton QC in the chair and Sarah Brooks and Dr Florian Ruths at her other side, Lisa Lustigman from Withers steering proceedings, the room was full of legal people gathered to listen to those of us who work in this field, talk about the reality of parental alienation and its impact on children.  The debate was lively and challenging at times though the overall learning I took away was that there is much to do in terms of education, provision of services and working out how best to make the legal framework interlock with the…

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section 20 and human rights damages (£17,500 award)


Kent County Council v M and K (section 20 : declaration and damages) 2016

The judicial trend for curbing the worst excesses of section 20 continues (see for example )

Apologies to the people of Kent, I know some of you are readers, and it is nothing personal, I just report the cases as they happen.

In this case, there was NO issue as to whether the original section 20 consent was lawful (the parents had capacity, and the principles laid down by Hedley J had been properly followed), but the drift and particularly here the failure to issue care proceedings in a timely fashion were what led to the human rights claim, and later damages.  Most of the s20 drift cases involve very young children – in fact infants, but this one involved an older child whose difficulties were significant and got worse over time.  This one is…

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Extremism Bill: The Ongoing Extremes of David Cameron

“As hundreds of academics have affirmed, Prevent has not made anyone safer, but rather, it has demonised an entire community through a state-sponsored climate of surveillance and suspicion. Now, freedom of speech, association and assembly are under threat based on upon the same rationale.

This is not what Britain is. It is very much revealing that Mr Cameron, having failed in delivering policies which expressly implicate the broader UK population, is now resorting to the counter-extremism policy which will target 5% of the population to “revitalise” his “premiership”. From start to finish, the proposals are a catastrophe waiting to happen. Our advice to the government is to heed history, if not academic opinion.

The British public must oppose these draconian measures. Though the image of Islam is present in the rhetoric of those who architect such toxic legislation, the reality is that the application will affect the whole of society. Muslims are the suspect community today. Tomorrow it can be anyone.”




The Cameron government has suffered a number of set-backs and U-turns in the past year in terms of policy. In most of these cases, the policies have been challenged by the public due to their adverse impact. What fiascos like the junior doctors pay have demonstrated is that a well-informed public, which has not pandered to the government’s fear mongering, or smoke-and-mirrors tactics, is one of the best checks on state excesses.

A further frontier is to be established with the Queen’s Speech setting out the Counter-Extremism Bill. With this area too, the public must stand up and see through the “terrorism” façade which is being used to justify spurious, draconian legislation.

Reports suggest that the proposed Counter-Extremism Bill will contain new powers to ban “extremist” organisations, gag individuals and empower councils to shut premises used to “promote hatred”. “Premises” is a reference to mosques. Ofcom…

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Beyond parental control

“The principal legal issue was whether you should approach threshold like this

The child has suffered significant harm AND
She is beyond parental control
Which was how the LA argued it


The child has suffered significant harm AND
She is beyond parental control AND
There is some casual link, even if it is not the only or dominant cause, between the child being beyond parental control and the significant harm.
As the parents were arguing.

For clarity, in the first instance, there’s no sense of blame, and in the second, there’s at least some slight degree of blame or responsibility for at least some of the harm.”


Threshold criteria – the legal ‘key’ which allows a Court to make a Care or Supervision Order, is defined by section 31 of the Children Act 1989 and it usually relies on the child having suffered or there being a likelihood that the child will suffer significant harm, as a result of the parent behaving in a way that would be unreasonable to expect of a parent.  There is, however, the much less frequently seen other limb which is that the child is ‘beyond parental control’.

There are volumes of reported cases about threshold on the first limb, but very little on the second, so even though this is a Circuit Judge decision and not binding precedent, it is worthy of discussion.

Re P (Permission to withdraw care proceedings) 2016

I’ve written at some length about one of the cases cited in this judgment, Re K, and the facts…

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@MoJGovUK Reforming the Courts’ Approach to #McKenzieFriends – first two submissions

“The current rules for contempt and the inherent power of the courts to control their own proceedings and processes is also perfectly adequate to control any disruptive lay advisers and to order them to be removed in appropriate cases where they have abused their role as lay advocates.”

Voluntary Public Interest Advocacy

16 05 16 ConsultationIt is an interesting sign of our times:

Before we submit our text in the name of the Association of McKenzie Friends, here is:

  1. Natasha Phillips’ contribution of three salient points on her excellent blog Researching Reform;
  2. a McKenzie Friend’s text who wishes to remain anonymous and repeats all questions to be answered.

These are thus two good models / templates for you to submit your own response, or maybe just ‘general’ points.

Master of the Rolls Private Office
Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2A 2LL

Dear Sir/Madam


I am writing to make representations regarding the “Reforming the Court’s Approach to McKenzie Friends – A Consultation”, currently being undertaken by the Judiciary Department of the Ministry of Justice.

My responses are under the question headings as set…

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UK – Britain should stop trying to pretend that its empire was benevolent

“Even when we are encouraged to pay attention to empire’s costs as well as its benefits, these costs are imagined solely in terms of specific incidents of violence such as the Amritsar Massacre in India or the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya. Britain has excused itself from that most structural injustice of empire – the slave trade itself – by the fact that it was Britain that pioneered its abolition.

Acknowledgement that cities such as Bristol, Liverpool and London were enriched by Britain’s dominance of the trade, that many stately homes were built on its wealth and that the compensation money paid to owners upon emancipation – rather than the enslaved – helped drive the industrial revolution and the growth of the City of London, tends to be confined to more critical quarters.

By contrast, runs the same argument, the benefits that empire brought to the world are universal. Everyone – Nigerians, Afghans and Chinese included – should be grateful for the rule of law, the English language, modern education, railways and free trade, all things that Britain provided in order to usher in the modern age.”

The Ugly Truth


THE CONVERSATION – The recent debacle of David Cameron’s filmed condemnation of Nigerian and Afghan corruption and the Queen’s remark on Chinese officials’ rudeness highlights the persistence of imperial thinking in Britain. There seems to be a continuing assumption within the British establishment that it sets an example for others to follow and that the British are owed deference by others.

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Sykes-Picot: A Century of Conspiratorial, Fatal Games

“The Sykes-Picot agreement and the Balfour declaration are two gaping wounds which have yet to be sutured let alone left to heal.”


MarkSykes1917athisdesk Mark Sykes, 1917

“I want to see a permanent Anglo-French entente allied to the Jews, Arabs, and Armenians which will render pan-Islamism innocuous…” – Mark Sykes, 1917[1]

The Middle East is experiencing convulsions as the vicious cycle of violence continues and the boundaries which were once drawn upon ignorance and arrogance remain in a state of uncertainty. The continued Western violence in the Muslim world and the destructive responses of individuals in Europe too are also not disconnected form history and historic politics. Indeed, the upheavals in the Middle East are not an isolated phenomena, as is often it is made out to be.

The source of this great distress for Muslims has been in no part due to the intrigues and “great games” which have played our over the past century.

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Cameron’s apology to Suliman Gani is too late and does not go far enough

“For all these reasons, David Cameron’s lie struck at our basic values of fairness and honesty and tolerance and at the presumption of innocence. But he has been made to apologise and perhaps he will be deterred from repeating this performance. Although grudging and graceless, the retraction may do something to slow the steepling descent in standards of our public life.”



CROSSPOST: Peter Oborne

I had never heard a political lie as squalid as the one told by David Cameron in Prime Minister’s Questions on 20 April – and for which he offered a very belated semi-apology late last night.

This lie perjured a British citizen, living under the Queen’s peace. It exposed him to hatred and abuse and put him in fear for the safety of his young family. Delivered with the protection of Parliamentary privilege, it deprived him of any redress or remedy. It was a deliberate, pre-meditated lie, prepared and sustained with resources provided by the taxpayer.

We know that it was premeditated because it was not made in the hurly burly of Commons combat with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Cameron was answering a planted question fed to him by a tame Conservative backbencher, Christopher Pincher, the MP for Tamworth in Staffordshire.

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National Alliance For Targeted Parents, Inc.

Parental Alienation

The National Alliance For Targeted Parents Inc., (NATP) is a  grassroots, organization of parents who are fighting to free their children from prolonged psychological abuse by their ex-partners who display abusive patterns of narcissistic/borderline personality disorder.  These heroic parents attempt to save their children despite being the target of the abuser’s relentless, retaliatory abuse and the staggering lack of support from law enforcement, mental health and legal professionals.

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