Man embroiled in family court dispute says he cannot get fair hearing in Norwich


A man embroiled in a decade-long family court dispute with an ex-partner over access to a child says he cannot get a fair hearing in Norwich.

His lawyers are to ask a judge currently overseeing the case in Norwich to rule that future hearings should be overseen by family court judges in London.

He says judges in Norwich have too often unfairly ruled against him.

The man, who is from Norwich, has called on judges to reveal details of the dispute.

He says litigation started 10 years ago shortly before his daughter was born and continued. The man says he has spent more than £500,000 on lawyers and dozens of hearings have been held.

But he says every hearing has been held in private and not one judge's ruling has been published despite judicial heads launching a drive for family court transparency.

He has raised concern in the wake of a report which said people were being left with a ''patchy understanding'' of the family justice system in England and Wales because judges were not consistently following guidance on the publication of case rulings.

Academics at Cardiff University's School of Law and Politics published the report in March.

They gathered data three years after judicial heads issued guidance to family court judges following ''secrecy'' complaints.

The man said his daughter lived with her mother.

He said he wanted to spend more time with the girl and she wanted to spend more time with him.

He says judges have not listened to the girl.

Cardiff University researchers analysed more than 800 rulings published in the two years after transparency guidance was issued.

Their report said ''only 27 judges and 12 courts'' sent more than 10 cases to the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (Bailii) website for publication during that period

Family court judges told researchers that they did not have enough time to produce rulings that could be made available to the public in anonymised form.

A researchers' spokeswoman said: ''(The research) suggests that guidance given to judges to routinely publish their judgments is not being consistently followed, leaving the public with a patchy understanding of the family justice system.''