The Children Act of 1989 required the judiciary to serve the paramount interests of the child.
No one can disagree with this fundamental principle.
However, our senior judiciary has opted to interpret this Paramountcy Principle by adopting out-of-date suppositions harking back to the 1960′s and 70′s. It has done so because of its rigid adherence to the system of ‘legal precedent’.
a) Above all, a child needs the love and nurturing of its mother and the financial support of its father.
b) Women are the emotionally weaker sex: if their wishes are thwarted by the court, their ability to parent their child will be very adversely affected.
c) A child can be raised quite satisfactorily without the nurturing of its father.
d) A father may be permitted to share in the parenting of his child, but only if the mother is in agreement. If she is not in agreement, the father should not be involved in the parenting because this would upset the mother, and the resulting animosity would be harmful to the child.
e) If a mother is found to have lodged false or exaggerated accusations of physical or emotional violence against a father, she should not be punished because this would harm the child in her care.
These are the suppositions written into decades of legal precedent and indelibly ingrained in the minds of our senior judiciary, such as Baroness Butler-Sloss, Lord Justice Thorpe and Sir Nicholas Wall.
These judges interpret the Paramountcy Principle of the Children Act 1989 by adopting these very suppositions.
A prime example is Payne v Payne (2001) which governs ‘leave to remove’ relocation law.
Butler-Sloss and Thorpe decreed that the paramount interests of a child would best be served by ensuring that the child’s mother should not be upset by any refusal of her application to remove the child overseas. The unfortunate consequence – that the child would lose its meaningful relationship with its father – was not as important as ensuring the complete happiness of the mother.
In Re D (Children)  EWCA Civ 50, Nicholas Wall refused to permit any challenge to the ideology of Payne v Payne, despite having being presented with a plethora of powerful scientific evidence in favour of Shared Parenting. Wall relegated the importance of that powerful evidence.
Our senior judiciary has misjudged the best interests of the child by remaining stubbornly wedded to an out-of-date ideology of parenthood.
An explicit presumption of Shared Parenting needs to be inserted into the Children Act in order to rectify that serious judicial error.
It must be made very clear to our senior judiciary that ‘paramount interests’ equates to ‘shared parenting’.