‘Critics of the Government’s plans to extend the secrecy of Britain’s court system are still insisting that, where courts operate behind closed doors, this is likely to allow justice to be horribly abused. They are, of course, quite right. But they do not point out that a perfect illustration of their case is what goes on daily in many of our family courts.
Last week, I learned of the case of a sensible but desperately unhappy 17-year-old, who has just lost her child forever. She herself has spent most of her life in local authority care, although she maintains that she was quite rightly taken away when young from her mother, who was a drug addict and an alcoholic.
The girl nevertheless seems to have triumphed over such adversity and, having found a boyfriend, she last year had a baby. The couple would have been only too happy to bring up the child together. The boyfriend is said to be “a brilliant dad”. But social workers, as is their wont, told her that if she wanted to keep the baby, she must stop seeing him, and sent her for a six month “assessment”.’