Children Schools and Families Act 2010

This act, which comes info force in July 2010, prevents victims of miscarriages of justice in Family courts from speaking or campaigning about their cases. It is draconian, potentially in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights. Large sections of it at least need to be repealed.

It was brought in under auspices of opening up family courts, in the wake of negative publicity about apparent miscarriages of justice in forced adoption cases.

In practice it does exactly the opposite – it gags witnesses and bars the press from reporting judgements in family cases. It makes the courts even more closed and secretive and leaves victims of judicial errors without a voice, without rights and without support.

Why is this idea important?

This act, which comes info force in July 2010, prevents victims of miscarriages of justice in Family courts from speaking or campaigning about their cases. It is draconian, potentially in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights. Large sections of it at least need to be repealed.

It was brought in under auspices of opening up family courts, in the wake of negative publicity about apparent miscarriages of justice in forced adoption cases.

In practice it does exactly the opposite – it gags witnesses and bars the press from reporting judgements in family cases. It makes the courts even more closed and secretive and leaves victims of judicial errors without a voice, without rights and without support.

Compulsory language in secondary schools

I understand that you are looking for legislation to be abolished – but can we reverse an abolition of a legislation?

Bring back compulsory foreign language in secondary schools.

Ideally, introduce it at Key Stage 2 and keep it as a core curriculum subject through Key Stages 3 and 4.

Why is this idea important?

I understand that you are looking for legislation to be abolished – but can we reverse an abolition of a legislation?

Bring back compulsory foreign language in secondary schools.

Ideally, introduce it at Key Stage 2 and keep it as a core curriculum subject through Key Stages 3 and 4.

Overhaul Family Courts

The Family courts remain one area where the "innocent until proven guilty" principle does not apply. The pressure of protecting children's privacy can be used against a child's best interests and to prevent parents from seeking representation and justice.

The UK is possibly the only country in the EU to still permit forced adoption – a practice which appears to be in conflict with the Human Rights Act and has been shown at times to breach children's as well as parents rights.

Forced adoption should be a measure of last resort. Rather than being dealt with in Family Court it should be dealt with in the High Court due to its severity and permanence. Children should be given anonimity, but trial by jury should be permitted as should court reporting, to ensure justice is done and seen to be done. Both parents and children should be able to seek justice and help, through their MPs, charities or the press without fear of imprisonment. Any matters that could result in imprisonment should be dealt with by High Court, not Family Court.

The burden of proof i.e. of danger to the child should be as high as in any other high court cases, i.e. based on evidence, not hearsay or unsupported opinion.

A child's opinion should be taken into account in all cases, i.e. divorce or care proceedings and particularly in adoption cases, and should carry a great weight.

Where a parent has serious concerns about physical or mental wellbeing of their child if the child is put in contact with another adult (partner, grandparent, relative etc) they should be able to put their point across. A parent fleeing a violent or abusive situation should not be forced by threats of fines or imprisonment to grant the perpetrator of abuse access to their children. A child should also not be forced into access with any adult against their will.

To prevent malicious and vindictive cases for contact there should be a limit on a number of times a case can be repeatedly brought to Family Court. The court should be able to make a final decision and to deny permission to reapply.

Why is this idea important?

The Family courts remain one area where the "innocent until proven guilty" principle does not apply. The pressure of protecting children's privacy can be used against a child's best interests and to prevent parents from seeking representation and justice.

The UK is possibly the only country in the EU to still permit forced adoption – a practice which appears to be in conflict with the Human Rights Act and has been shown at times to breach children's as well as parents rights.

Forced adoption should be a measure of last resort. Rather than being dealt with in Family Court it should be dealt with in the High Court due to its severity and permanence. Children should be given anonimity, but trial by jury should be permitted as should court reporting, to ensure justice is done and seen to be done. Both parents and children should be able to seek justice and help, through their MPs, charities or the press without fear of imprisonment. Any matters that could result in imprisonment should be dealt with by High Court, not Family Court.

The burden of proof i.e. of danger to the child should be as high as in any other high court cases, i.e. based on evidence, not hearsay or unsupported opinion.

A child's opinion should be taken into account in all cases, i.e. divorce or care proceedings and particularly in adoption cases, and should carry a great weight.

Where a parent has serious concerns about physical or mental wellbeing of their child if the child is put in contact with another adult (partner, grandparent, relative etc) they should be able to put their point across. A parent fleeing a violent or abusive situation should not be forced by threats of fines or imprisonment to grant the perpetrator of abuse access to their children. A child should also not be forced into access with any adult against their will.

To prevent malicious and vindictive cases for contact there should be a limit on a number of times a case can be repeatedly brought to Family Court. The court should be able to make a final decision and to deny permission to reapply.

Tuition Fees

Scrap and at least permanently cap tuition fees and scrap the very idea of charging commercial interest rates. Introduce an equitable graduate tax as percentage of earnings, ringfenced for funding higher eductaion.

I put this suggestion in the section on civil liberties because every person should be enabled in a developed country to be educated to the highest standard they can achieve. A young person's suitability for higher education should be determined by their academic ability, talent and ambition, not by how much their parents earn.

Ringfencing higher education for the higest paid minority, such as children of financiers, has no place in the 21st century. It is oppressive, it harms social freedom, social mobility. It deprives the country of academic ambition and of the diverse talent and skills it needs in a modern world.

Why is this idea important?

Scrap and at least permanently cap tuition fees and scrap the very idea of charging commercial interest rates. Introduce an equitable graduate tax as percentage of earnings, ringfenced for funding higher eductaion.

I put this suggestion in the section on civil liberties because every person should be enabled in a developed country to be educated to the highest standard they can achieve. A young person's suitability for higher education should be determined by their academic ability, talent and ambition, not by how much their parents earn.

Ringfencing higher education for the higest paid minority, such as children of financiers, has no place in the 21st century. It is oppressive, it harms social freedom, social mobility. It deprives the country of academic ambition and of the diverse talent and skills it needs in a modern world.

Define the minimum number of MPs that must be present to pass an Act of Parliament

The expenses scandal earlier this year highlighted just how little time the MPs whose wages and costs we pay actually spend on the benches. While the rest of us have set working hours and duties our MPs often fail to turn up at Westminster when vital laws are passed.

As a result badly written laws, such as the Digital Economy Act  (which criminalises innocent people for a hacker misusing their network and gives a minister powers to single-handedly make laws) have been allowed to pass with few MPs present and virtually no meaningful debate.

There must be a rule that a very high minimum of MPs from all parties must be present in Parliament to pass an Act – and to be as close to full house as possible for any act that creates a new criminal offence.

Why is this idea important?

The expenses scandal earlier this year highlighted just how little time the MPs whose wages and costs we pay actually spend on the benches. While the rest of us have set working hours and duties our MPs often fail to turn up at Westminster when vital laws are passed.

As a result badly written laws, such as the Digital Economy Act  (which criminalises innocent people for a hacker misusing their network and gives a minister powers to single-handedly make laws) have been allowed to pass with few MPs present and virtually no meaningful debate.

There must be a rule that a very high minimum of MPs from all parties must be present in Parliament to pass an Act – and to be as close to full house as possible for any act that creates a new criminal offence.

RIP Act and the Terrorism Act

Both acts have to be at least reworked to tighten the conditions under which they can be used. The Terrorism Act, if it cannot be repealed, should have a time limit and also be used on occasions of absolute public emergency. We are not permanently in a state of emergency.

There should not just be vague "guidelines"  – they should be written into the Acts. Local governments, the police and other public bodies have demostrated they can't be trusted to interpret the law correctly unless all rules and exceptions are spelled out.

If these acts are not repealed, then they should be amended, in Parliament, to ensure they cannot be used by state agencies to snoop on innocent individuals' private correspondence, so that the councils cannot use them to spy on their own employees or to check up on parents in school catchment areas etc. The police must not be allowed, by law, to use the Terrorism Act to break up peaceful demonstrators, record participants' details or threaten them, or to prevent amateur or professional photographers taking photos in public places.

Why is this idea important?

Both acts have to be at least reworked to tighten the conditions under which they can be used. The Terrorism Act, if it cannot be repealed, should have a time limit and also be used on occasions of absolute public emergency. We are not permanently in a state of emergency.

There should not just be vague "guidelines"  – they should be written into the Acts. Local governments, the police and other public bodies have demostrated they can't be trusted to interpret the law correctly unless all rules and exceptions are spelled out.

If these acts are not repealed, then they should be amended, in Parliament, to ensure they cannot be used by state agencies to snoop on innocent individuals' private correspondence, so that the councils cannot use them to spy on their own employees or to check up on parents in school catchment areas etc. The police must not be allowed, by law, to use the Terrorism Act to break up peaceful demonstrators, record participants' details or threaten them, or to prevent amateur or professional photographers taking photos in public places.