Portia's Speech is an ideal metaphor for the gathering crisis in English law. Denning's revolution was to introduce the precepts enshrined in Portia's speech. Denning was ideologically opposed to the rule of law, and replaced it by a moral code which he assumed to exist and to be comprehensive. His own moral code was low church Anglican. In practice, it had to be invented and extended on the hoof by judges and enforced by judges. Our legal system was the amalgamation of the King's Courts, the Court of Chancery, and the Ecclesiastical Courts. Denning shifted the courts back to their other two, submerged traditions, Chancery and, even more so, the Ecclesiastical Courts. These had never been shut down, merely 'merged ' into, and supposedly pre-empted by, the King's Courts. This was the weakness in our system that Denning, although not expert in, or interested in, jurisprudence, unwittingly exploited via their surviving rump, Equity.
Since the judges' Masonic moral code was not comprehensive, the judges looked to Public Opinion for guidance. This shift was marked by Lord Chief Justice Taylor saying; "The Law responds to Public Opinion." The public was enthusiastic, but the older Professors of Jurisprudence had been horrified, and had said so. Dr. John Morris of Magdalen College, Oxford, wrote an article entitled 'Palm Tree Justice in the Court of Appeal' published in the Law Quarterly Review. He wrote:
By departing from the established rules of law the Court of Appeal seems to have usurped the functions of the legislature. .... it will not be sufficient just to re-write the chapter on gifts to children in the text-books on wills. The text-books themselves will have to be scrapped and construction reduced to the level of guesswork. It is submitted that the rules of law binding on the court cannot be evaded merely by calling them technical.
The reality was that Public Opinion had replaced the law.
Thatcher would probably assert that Public Opinion does not exist. Anyway, to fill the void, judges were forced to mistake pressure groups for Public Opinion. This is the reason for the massive propaganda in our media for novel moral codes, which were vying, through the media, for control of our courts.
The realisation that in future, decisions in legal actions would be decided in the media, and merely ratified by our courts, came only gradually. 'The media' meant, of course, those pressure groups which controlled the media; its owners, and much more importantly, the most vocal pressure groups. This is why the ideological need to massage facts and statistics, and even more, to ignore and even suppress facts, is so much more prevalent in our media than it used to be. It is not only government statistics that have been manipulated in order to create a more pliable 'Public Opinion' to be obeyed by the judges.
However, the loss of a legal basis for court decisions and their replacement by media decisions was unstable. Another motivation for decisions was inexorably drawn into the situation; decision making based on naked power. The 'Court of Morals' which, thanks to Denning, had replaced our Courts of Law, now had no defence against the exercise of naked Power, which it proceeded to ratify. Examples are;
judge was entitled to dismiss a father's contact application .... following
threats by the child's stepfather that if proceedings continued he would
reject the child and the mother." -
".... contact orders .... are in practice unenforceable, and where such an order is flouted for no good reason the parent seeking contact has no remedy. .... The father seeking contact is powerless if the mother refuses to release the child in compliance with an order. .... Parents seeking legitimate contact enforcement, and the courts they resort to, are engaged in a charade." - Jasmine Salisbury, a magistrate serving on the family panel, The Independent, 12jan94.
Thus, we have reverted to that period in our history before legal controls were instituted. Historically, Denning's usurpation of law by morals was only interim. The underlying factor was the destruction of the law, leading inevitably to an era of lawlessness, or rule by power, which we are now in. In this new era, the court's only function is to validate, or encode, the facts of power.
In the case of the family courts, the rule of power reached its apotheosis in the recent case of E. Previous to the court hearing, he bid farewell to his children, telling them that if the court order were not made to his prescription, he would never have any contact with them. Further, he would never earn money on the white economy, and he would never again provide money or other support of any kind for them.
Counsel for the other side, hearing of this, wrongly deduced that they had a trump card, showing the father's indifference and uncaring nature. They informed the judge. The judge capitulated, and made out the order over residence (=custody of the children) prescribed by the father.
The new regime in the family courts is as follows. Any man who has unwisely built up large assets, loses all his assets and any contact with his children. The mother and children are then maintained over the next ten to fifteen years out of his expropriated assets. However, that only applies to some ten per cent of divorcing fathers. It has been calculated more than once that the cost of a divorce is £160,000. If the father's total assets are as much or more, well and good. He can be ejected and robbed. Further extortion via the C.S.A. will be a bonus.
Now consider the other ninety per cent of fathers. Such a father can adopt the strategy of Retreat. The total equity in his home is perhaps £25,000. Provided he announces in advance of the divorce hearing that he retreats, that the cupboard will be bare unless he has his way, the judge is on notice that a court order which expropriates the father (and virtually all court orders do), will cost the state some £130,000 in direct cost. Incidentally, it will also damage the children, although our courts are more or less totally indifferent to the plight of the children of divorce. 'Court welfare officers' have minimal training in probation matters, not in family matters, and are subjected to an extremely destructive ideology during this short, irrelevant training. The mantra; "The interests of the children come first," is merely intoned to justify secrecy, so that our courts can ignore our children's interests without the glare of publicity.
Before the first divorce hearing, the divorcing father, plus all of his relatives that he can assemble, will hold a farewell party for his children. (Should the children be unavailable, the party will be held in their absence, and they will be informed by recorded delivery letter.) He will tell them that should the judge make a single residence order in favour of their mother, he will never again earn salary. Further, both he and all his relatives will cease all contact with them, and all financial support. He and the relatives will then give to the children their final, farewell presents. The event, and what happened, will be reported to the judge, and entered into the court file, in the form of signed letters by each relative, and a signed statement by the father. The only situation when their joint decision to retreat will be rescinded, will be if future legislation enables the mother to ask the court to permanently disqualify itself from further involvement in the family.
One great advantage of Retreat is that, since the facts of the case have no bearing on the outcome, there is no need for a court hearing. This immediately represents a great saving for the state's in court costs and in legal aid. Since, before the judge capitulated in the 1997 landmark case of E, the judge had threatened to fine E's solicitor, it is important that the father should not have any legal representation. Also, any verbal submissions may confuse the judge, and be falsifiable by an embattled legal 'system'. By far the safest course is for the father to submit this documentation, and his prescribed Court Order, to the judge, and remain silent; possibly not even attend. (The facts never did have a bearing, but the realisation that the children lost all contact with the father was camouflaged by the issuing of worthless contact orders which would not be enforced. Also, the C.S.A. extortion would arrive much later in time, so that the judge was never confronted with the implications of his behaviour, and would not know that the father would never earn money again on the white economy, as happened in my case, that of R. G., and so many others.)
Since the courts have invented the concept of a father kidnapping his children, but deny the concept of a mother kidnapping her children, the court order prescribed by the father using the Retreat strategy requires at least parity of status to the father in the court order. Thus, shared residence, or sole residence with the father, must be prescribed in the court order, to prevent the children from being cut off from their father. The possibility of the intrusion of the concept of kidnap by the father has to be excluded from the start.
Similarly, the financial division will be as prescribed by the father.
The key to this strategy is that the sole source of the necessary wealth to keep the children from being a charge on the state is the future earnings of the father. What fraction of the G.N.P. is lost if all divorced men or half of divorced men quit the labour force? Here we have to do further research. The best we have at present is Gilder in the U.S.A. in 1986;
Single men currently have median incomes less than 10% higher than those of single women..... Married men, however, earn some 70% more than singles of either sex."
The key point is to determine to what extent the motivation of the married man to provide makes him the chief engine of wealth creation. However, that is a detail, and will not delay the use of the Retreat strategy by fathers who have the courage to fight for their children.
Ivor Catt 121 Westfields, St. Albans, AL3 4JR. (01727 864257) 29oct97
The Retreat Strategy