::.law + strategy.::.law + governance.::.law + politics.::. ::.you get the jist.::
A fascinating, bizarre and somewhat disturbing anecdote: in the middle of a hearing on a family law matter, a judge suggests an adjournment in order to inspect the living accommodations of the children. Certainly a problematic move under Canadian process and procedure. Still, it does make me wonder what a legal system in which judges make “house calls” would look like, if done in accordance with some established and respectful/fair/equitable procedure. It reminds me a little of the system in some civil law countries, in which the judge has an investigative role and the lawyers are facilitators of that investigation. But I’ve never before heard of a judge making house calls.
A Family Court Judge in England decided to “see for herself” in a court case that involved two young children. (AMV v. RM (2012) EWHC 3629) The proceedings commenced in the usual fashion, but early in the hearing the children’s father disputed the mother’s claim that she and the two children lived in a three-bedroom flat in London. He asserted that mother and children spent most of their time at her parent’s home in council housing, the term used in Britain and Ireland for public or social housing.
Mother admitted that she and the children spent time at her parent’s home, an admission that raised the issue of the standard of the living accommodation of the children. Suddenly, the Judge suggested to mother’s counsel that the court hearing be adjourned so that she could personally inspect both homes.
With only fifteen minutes to ponder the Judge’s request, mother’s lawyer consented…
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