Category Archives: Public Interest Advocacy

McKENZIE FRIENDS under the looking glass: a report from the Legal Consumer Services Panel

14 04 18 Fee charging McKenzie FriendsThis report covers four types of McKenzie Friends:

  • one off helpers
  • occasional and regular volunteers
  • fee-charging ‘amateurs’
  • fee-charging ‘professionals’

Struck off lawyers may also turn into McKenzie Friends.

The report aims at balancing between ‘access to justice‘ and ‘consumer protection‘ and makes 15 recommendations:

Recommendation 1: Fee-charging McKenzie Friends should be recognised as a legitimate feature of the evolving legal services market.

Attitudes of judges and lawyers Continue reading

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST regarding care & contact procedures

14 04 15 UK Family Law ReformUK Family Law Reform is a very comprehensive website with a unique ‘megaphone’ to send emails to media, local authorities and MPs.

Here’s what I just sent to all local authorities:

This is to ask for the procedures that are in place:

1. to ensure that COURT ORDERS for CONTACT with children in care are being complied with;

2. to allow parents to enforce orders for contact when they are not being adhered to;

3. to ensure that embassies and consulates are being informed when non-UK children are taken into care;

4. to arrange for Consular visits of non-UK children in care.  Continue reading

NEWS RELEASE: UK Violations of EU Law and Child RIGHTS: naming an Indian Child contrary to Article 10

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                        04 April 2014

UK VIOLATIONS of EU LAW and CHILD RIGHTS

Naming an Indian Child without Family, Religious Ceremony
and without the Father on its Birth Certificate

VALUES and OBJECTIVES of the UNION[i]

The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values, which are set out in Article I-2, are common to the Member States. Moreover, the societies of the Member States are characterised by pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men. These values play an important role, especially in two specific cases:

Continue reading

PRESS RELEASE about the UK Delegation in Brussels to Abolish Adoptions without Parental Consent

THANKS to the ‘megaphone’ of UK Family Law Reform (which can be used for local papers, too!):

UNIQUE FAMILY LAWS in the UK

Un-Believable Facts about Children in Foster ‘Care’ and Forced Adoptions

A UK delegation of parents is visiting the EU Petitions Committee on 19 March 2014, hoping to get their children returned, after they have been forcibly removed from them. Individual petitioners are a German parent, a Latvian mother and daughter, a Lithuanian and a British mother. Speaking on behalf of the thousands of parents effected will be German Sabine K McNeill who publishes petitions online and gathered the support of over 4,000 signatures. Other victims in support are an English greatgrandfather and father, a Welsh father as well as family and McKenzie Friends who have been assisting as lay legal advisors. The text submitted to the Committee in May 2013 is on http://mckenzie-friends.co.uk/petitions/abolish-adoption/ She will be followed by 3 petitioners from the Netherlands who copied the UK system of child ‘protection’[i]. Continue reading

ABOLISH ADOPTIONS without Parental Consent – to be presented in Brussels on 19 March


NEWS RELEASE                                                                                          14 February 2014

ABOLISH ADOPTIONS without PARENTAL CONSENT

Petitions of Latvian, Russian and Lithuanian Mothers and on behalf of thousands of victims in the UK before EU Committee
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/peti/home.html

A court hearing to protest the forced removal of children from their parents by a London Council has been timed to coincide with the presentation of a petition to the European Parliament to seek redress for similar actions by different councils for thousands of families nationwide. The petition has attracted over 2,500 signatures on http://www.change.org/petitions/eu-parliament-abolish-adoptions-without-parental-consent

A special meeting of the EU Petitions Committee will receive also a petition on 19 March from Latvian Laila Brice, whose five year old daughter was taken by Merton Council without a court order and put up for adoption.

On the same day Haringey Council will apply to the British Family court for the adoption of the two youngest of Gloria and Chiwar Musa[i] whose older five children were forcefully removed by police acting for the Council and the parents later jailed for supposedly having abused them.

The Association of McKenzie Friends, a voluntary organisation that supports both families, is campaigning to stop the forced removal of children from their parents and their subsequent fostering or adoption without due process.

The Association also decries the secrecy of family courts[ii], gagging orders with threat of imprisonment, and forced adoptions, which it says are unique in the UK[iii] Writing in The Telegraph, Christopher Booker described the situation as an international scandal[iv].

McKenzie Friends chair Belinda McKenzie believes the timing of the two events is not coincidental. “The courts will have known that we will be in Brussels to hand over the petition. What better time to schedule the Musa adoption hearing?” she said.

McKenzie Friends have documented and published many other cases where the children were forcibly removed from their parents under questionable circumstances.

“These are mostly immigrant families or vulnerable single mothers whom councils should be helping, not terrorising,” McKenzie said.

“The secrecy of the family courts was meant to protect children. Instead it is protecting shameful and unethical behaviour by the authorities.”

ends

For more details, please contact Sabine K McNeill on 07968 039 141 or sabine@3d-metrics.com

Notes and links for editors:

  1. The Association of McKenzie Friends[v] is an unfunded network of individuals. It has come together to help parents whose children were taken and who were then imprisoned, fending for themselves as Litigants in Person[vi]. Their petition Children Placed in Foster Care[vii] was put before the House of Commons on 3 September 2013 without any response so far.
  2. Foreigners among women[viii] whose children are targeted have also been observed by Vicky Haigh[ix]. She was imprisoned for 3 years for supposedly having breached a ‘non-molestation order’ – by saying ‘hello’ when she saw her daughter accidentally at a petrol station. She has not seen her now 10-year old daughter since, after she was given to her abusive father. She was the first victim named by John Hemming MP in Parliament: Gag removed job done[x]. Her ‘non-molestation order’ for no contact has just been renewed for 3 years.
  3. John Hemming is the only MP who reliably stands up for victims of family courts. He is Chairman of Justice for Families[xi] and has organised a meeting for foreign embassies that resulted in the Early Day Motion International Concerns about UK Law[xii].
  4. Christopher Booker’s column in The Telegraph addresses the issue regularly. He wrote 14 articles[xiii] about the Musas and 2 about Melissa Laird[xiv].
  5. The publisher of Forced Adoption as a book and website is Ian Josephs who has a law degree from Oxford and runs a language school in Monaco. He advises up to 10 parents a day by phone and has spent over £30,000 to help families.
  6. Abolish Adoption without Parental Consent[xv] is an online petition before the EU Parliament which is supported by a 12-page Dossier of Online Evidence[xvi].

[i]               http://gloriamusa.wordpress.com/about/
[ii]               http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/the-secrecy-of-the-family-courts-should-be-lifted-now.html
[iii]              http://punishmentwithoutcrime.wordpress.com/about/this-is-the-situation/whats-unique-in-the-uk/
[iv]              http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10191983/Our-child-protection-system-is-an-international-scandal.html
[v]               http://mckenzie-friends.co.uk/about/
[vi]              http://bit.ly/1bX2Qub
[vii]             http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhttp://punishmentwithoutcrime.wordpress.com/about/this-is-the-situation/whats-unique-in-the-uk/hansrd/cm130903/petnindx/130903-x.htm
[viii]             http://bit.ly/1027te2
[ix]              http://bit.ly/V7c28P
[x]               http://johnhemming.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/gag-removed-job-done.html
[xi]              http://justice-for-families.org.uk/
[xii]             http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/345
[xiii]             http://gloriamusa.wordpress.com/public-support/booker-articles/
[xiv]             http://melissalaird.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/deported-imprisoned-and-beaten-for-being-a-parent/
[xv]             http://www.change.org/petitions/eu-parliament-abolish-adoptions-without-parental-consent
[xvi]             https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NCF_XdMTNhnf947eniZ3SocOWyJ5CI6pramw4iOPY9c/edit?usp=sharing

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CHALLENGES for McKenzie Friends – as Legal Aid is cut and white collar crimes rise

Lawyer

Help4LiPs are invited to discuss Litigants in Person and the challenges for McKenzie Friends with those who could make a difference. Hence we put these recommendations together:

  1. The need for acting as McKenzie Friend arose for many individuals out of very different circumstances, but generally:
    1. Being or having been victim of white collar crimes[1] themselves;
    2. Acting on behalf of victims who suffered from solicitors and / or barristers, on top of whatever damage or crime they had suffered.
    • Corruption in the legal profession and the courts is a real problem.
  2. In our observation, assisting Litigants in Person became necessary for the following reasons:
    1. Ministers and MPs didn’t do anything about fraudulent bankruptcies and home repossessions;
    2. It was impossible to find family lawyers who were acting in the interest of parents whose children were taken into care or forcibly adopted by Social Services;
    3. Prison conditions of Litigants in Person in general and parents of child snatching[2] in particular were so appalling that more help became necessary.
    • Family courts, their secrecy[3] and their supposed legitimacy are an international scandal, as Christopher Booker writes regularly in The Telegraph and as formulated in Early Day Motion 345[4] by John Hemming MP.
    • “There is no accountability”, says John Hemming MP.
  3. As Voluntary Public Interest Advocates, we don’t charge for what we do.

LEARNING by DOING: how to assist Litigants in Person as McKenzie Friend – a lesson for us and the Courts

This is the Practice Guidance that shows that I should NOT have been kicked out of Lincoln County Court yesterday.

Our introduction letters got us in as McKenzie Friends, but we didn’t get ‘right of audience’. As ‘web publisher’, I knew I wouldn’t, for I was told once before that

You don’t understand confidentiality.

But: preparing paperwork is one level of assistance; speaking in court is another one; ‘assisting’ by whispering and passing notes is the third ‘mode of operation’.

When the Pedros submitted our ‘position statement’, Lincolnshire County Court’s barrister alerted the judge to the blog that I had created for the family.

The barrister alerted the judge also to the fact that I am the person associated with the website for Vicky Haigh (set to ‘private’ a long time ago).

Before the Pedros went into court, my Co-McKenzie Friend offered the other side that I’d set the Pedro site to ‘private’.

For this morning’s hearing, they had produced

  • an Order that claims Carla Pedro had breached the gag and should therefore be imprisoned – to Carla responded “no problem”;
  • a printout of Sir James Munby’s judgement that appeals to courts to ‘adapt to the realities of the internet, particularly social media’;
  • a ‘case outline’ which lied about the allegations of the 13- year-old boy who had written letters complaining about social worker Lee Watkinson and his fear of ‘bum rape’.

Yesterday the question about how a Portuguese boy learns about ‘bum rape’ was refused…

More about the case later.

#melissalaird in Court 18 @ the RCJ – on behalf of US mother deported whilst her only child is kept for adoption

20131205_135110[1]The Queen on the application of Melissa 20131205_135206[1]Laird
v. Secretary of State for the Home Department
CO 9385/2013

Application for Judicial Review of Melissa’s deportation to the USA September
Before Anthony Elleray QC sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court
Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court 18, 5 December 2013, 10.30

Prior to Melissa’s case 2 other applications were heard, both for leave to appeal against deportations brought by foreign fathers with children still in UK (the court stenographer said Court 18 was a very sad place…). Melissa’s application only arrived before the judge at 12.50, brought on her behalf by members of the Association of McKenzie Friends (AMF) Sabine McNeill and Belinda McKenzie, assisted by especially by Terence Ewing, but also Meirion Bowen and Caul Grant.

Continue reading

BELINDA’s Latest Call for Battle to Protect Britain’s Children from Paedophilia UK

13 11 11 Battle for ChildrenPlease note also National Debate on Child Protection – signed by 44 MPs!

Dear All

Greetings  and welcome to this list if you’ve signed my contact sheet only recently and thank you for your interest in this initiative. If I’m mistaken and you’re not/no longer interested in following or joining with me in a ‘Battle for [= to protect] Britain’s Children’ in the lead-up to the General Election 2015 just let me know and I’ll remove you from this list.  To date, after sending out 8? editions of BATTLE NEWS since end September 2013 only 2 people on this extensive mailing-list have asked to be removed.

The list which runs into thousands by now represents 4 years of public campaigning on this issue, starting out as ‘Justice for Hollie Greig’ www.holliedemandsjustice.org.uk and widening into a general campaign against all forms of child abuse, including state stealing and trafficking of children and ritual as well as sexual abuse.

As I’ve mentioned recently at public events, the proposed ‘Battle’ doubles as a campaign to ‘Elect an Ethical Parliament in 2015’. I work on the simple premise that those who abuse children or who KNOWINGLY condone, cover-up, turn a blind eye to, sanction, enable or promote the abuse of children & break-up of families are UNLIKELY TO BE ETHICAL in any other area of their public activity. In my view therefore such people should not be elected or re-elected to this country’s legislature, nor should they be holding positions of public trust, full-stop. Continue reading

COURT HEARINGS in December illustrate how the UK’s ‘child protection’ system is an international scandal

13 07 14 Justice BWNEWS RELEASE                                                    19 November 2013

‘BACK for CHRISTMAS’ for STOLEN UK & FOREIGN CHILDREN

3 Court Hearings in December illustrate how the UK’s ‘child protection’ system is an international scandal

US mother Melissa Laird[i] is listed for a hearing on 5 December 2013 in the High Court to address the ‘substance of her case’ and to ‘exercise her rights of appeal’. Due to torturous prison conditions in HMP Holloway including being beaten up[ii], she was seriously prevented from advancing her legal affairs. This included contact with her son from whom she was separated in December 2011, when he was 4 years-old. She was advised to plead ‘guilty’ to ‘abduction of a child’, her own, after having relocated from the UK to Spain; in May 2011 Barnet Council had issued a European Arrest Warrant. She was arrested when she took her son to hospital in Alicante in December. In March 2012, Family Judge Mayer ordered that contact was at the discretion of Barnet Council who deemed it best not to arrange for any contact at all, contrary to the Children’s Act 1989 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Nigerian couple Gloria and Chiwar Musa[iii] were also imprisoned after their children had been forcefully removed by 8 Police Officers of Haringey Council. The goal is the same: keep the children for foster ‘care’, dispensing with the consent of the parents for forced adoption[iv] or punishment without crime[v] and finally deport the parents. Their appeal hearing is listed on 6 December 2013.  Continue reading