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What We Believe Will Happen If Jack Straws Proposals Are Made Law

28th Feb 2009 | in Legal, Justice & Court

Protestors and interested parties – please stay “on message”. Here it
is: what we believe will happen if Jack Straw’s proposals are made law:

(you need to at least look through Jack Straw’s December 08 statement
first –find a link at end of article).

Remember, the court doors are still closed (Secret Diplock Family Courts)
– and will stay closed. Even Jack Straw would have to get special
permission to enter a family court. That means, unlike any other civil or
criminal court, you cannot even take a family member in with you as support
– or so that they may “see” “justice” done – or hear the judge
take away their cousin, nephew, niece or grandchild for life. You may even
want family and friends to speak up in the courtroom – as they do in other
court trials. Again that will remain almost impossible. Unless they are
called as “witness” (which the lawyers and judges dislike doing anyway
so routinely try to block or at least make very difficult). And even if
“witness” they are then excluded from the whole rest of the hearing.**

Furthermore, the courts will remain closed to anyone who takes a proper
interest (as society leaders should), such as MPs/ informed campaigners/
academics wishing to study the system, and also closed to someone who has
their own case ongoing who would like to learn how to work out their own
problematical court cases by observing other cases. You can’t take your
own MP or even GP in with you to support you in, or monitor, your case.

The exception is that from this year some journalists may be allowed in
(with we suspect considerable “controls” - probably they must become or
be “accredited” and anyway can be excluded at the whim of a judge). Top
worry is that newspapers have really small budgets nowadays and family court
cases go on weeks. In reality very few journalists will be able to follow
these cases (Straw knows this you can be sure).

But the greatest problem with Straw’s intentions is the backward step of
“reversing Clayton v Clayton”. We assume that means they will create a
new law of anonymity and secrecy. With a new law it will be much easier to
prosecute than in the present situation which is based on legal precedent
(prosecute people like Julia – see below). At the moment many bend the
publicity rules and are not prosecuted. With new law they probably will be.
Furthermore newspapers and broadcasters will not be able to publish any
human side such as even photos and identities of victims of injustice.

Reversing Clayton means the thousands - possibly hundreds of thousands, of
ordinary people who wish to garner support, for example using Facebook to
describe their every day life, will be open to prosecution if at any point
during their child’s childhood – either if they are with their children
still, or the child has been removed, they put their own name (or photo) up
on Facebook and anywhere even mention the existence of one of their own

AND Straw also does nothing to address the fact that those who have cases
in the Family Courts ongoing (which can and often do go on for 2 or 3 years
– sometimes 7 or 8) have no access to public protest or even comment –
they have always been completely gagged (at threat of 2 years imprisonment)
– completely barred from any identification in public (even say on
Facebook). You cannot be identified anywhere – evn on your own blog or
Facebook, if a case is ongoing. Law now, still law according to Straw’s

See an example:,siddons

Julia, a woman I have been helping in her court case (her now one year old
baby girl, removed from her at 6 weeks – for no good reason we say, and we
are trying to get her back), is a highly educated middle class 28 year old
woman. She has 5 A levels and studied violin at a musical conservatoire. She
has spent many hours talking to me about her case and also read a lot of
material I put up on the web regarding my campaign to stop Jack Straw’s
proposals. Yet she was still so in the dark at the current rules she put up
that picture on her Facebook which is technically illegal (now, and would be
under the new proposals, for all her child’s childhood). And she simply
cannot understand the logic of why (under Straw’s new proposals) she could
be prosecuted for her Facebook site – doesn’t see what on earth harm she
is dong to anyone.

Or look up “Jolly Stanesby” on Facebook. He has ongoing standard
custody case regarding his child (trying to get shared care when at present
he has every other weekend and half the holls – been in and out of court
many a time). He has received huge media coverage as the arch building
climber for Fathers4justice. Yet under Straw’s proposals his profile would
have to be removed. Again for 7 years until his child reaches 18. That when
there are literally thousands of online newspaper clippings that will stay
there forever which name him (nuclear war aside).

And then we return to the Mark and Nicky Webster’s case. The Websters
have become an icon to the many thousands of “Julias” and others who are
fighting to see again, or keep, their children. They have legions of
supporters. Their case going public (using Clayton v Clayton as a legal
precedent), has been a rallying cry to many thousands. Even journalists. Yet
under Straw’s proposals their case would have received next to no coverage
(as “MR and Mrs X who cannot be named for legal reasons…………”).
VFICTIMS! Or only the most extreme stories.

I personally, don’t even much like the net – world wide waste of time,
sometimes. Yet the last two months have shown me that almost EVERYONE else
does – especially victims of the system and campaigners – they, along
with huge rafts of just ordinary people, demand their own personal voices on
the web and have a lot to say. And the norm now is the likes of Facebook is
the MAIN method of communication and cause awareness raising (One of my main
arguments in the Court of Appeal, Clayton v Clayton – that the world is
changing – so this can be NO surprise to the lawmakers – I told them the
public going online in blogs and other forms of social networking was a key
issue for the future).

So, like never before, jack Straw’s December 08 proposals, effectively
gag many hundreds of thousands of people (Julia would have to scrub her
profile for the 17 years left of her daughter’s life!!)

Ref naming experts in the fam court in public, and the wishes of children
suffering adoption wishing the right to speak out in public, John Hemming is
the lead spokesman on those issues.

**The exception is the Court of Appeal where normally cases are held in
open court and have been for some years. All identities were suppressed
(until Clayton changed that). Now they can be revealed at the close of a
case. Straw wants that changed back.

Please support us!! Top media people are with us but we need you as well.

Join and contribute: (scroll down to
support section)

Facebook group: “Stop Jack Straw’s Gagging Order”; “Justice
Prevails” on Facebook.
sign up / befriend “Justice p”, to hear how you can help: contacting
MPs/journalists; and direct action planned in March. And a tenner from
everyone would help as well.

©Simon Clayton 27/2/09


  • On 1st Mar 2009 at 06:34 AM mary docherty said...

    I knew it all along,when others were “excited” at the idea of finally being able to talk publicly,or even have coverage,or even sitting in at their trials,i knew there would be something put in place to “hide” the injustices,let’s face it,that’s exactly what they are.Thank you simon.

  • On 14th Mar 2009 at 08:14 AM will lawyers said...


    Straw wants to prevent prospective Conservative candidates in marginal seats from spending money in advance of an election campaign. More precisely, he wants to prevent candidates spending Lord Ashcroft’s money. Before I go on, I must declare an interest.

  • On 27th Apr 2009 at 09:30 AM N Grace said...

    Its complete waste of time, Jack Straw has no back bone he gives with one hand and takes with the other.  I dont know how they sleep at night, him or the professionals who hide their dirty nasty secrets from the public, dare we open our mouths as we fear having our kids taken away and they are the ones we fight so hard to protect.

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