UK

Sir Paul Coleridge, High Court Judge, Campaigns Against 'Scourge Of Divorce'

04/30/2012 09:02 am 09:02:05 | Updated 30 April 2012

A High Court judge with more than 30 years' experience in family law has launched a campaign against the "scourge" of divorce.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday morning Sir Paul Coleridge said the “impact family breakdown is having on society” was "out of control," and said it was important to protect the institute of marriage.

He also spoke out against the 'Hello! magazine' disposable attitude to marriage, saying: "I am not knocking Hello! magazine. I read it frequently. I normally find people in there are within my court with a year or two."

Sir Paul will formally launch his campaign, the Marriage Foundation, on Monday.

The foundation aims lobby for family-friendly policies and act as an advocate for marriage by "strengthening the institution for the benefit of children, adults and society as a whole".

However the move, reported to cost £150,000 a year has drawn some criticism.

Sandra Davis, the head of family law at Mishcon de Reya, told the Huffington Post UK earlier this year that the best way to combat family breakdown was through programmes to help parents focus on their "responsibilities" over personal rights.

Sir Paul told the Daily Mail that while judges do not traditionally speak out on policy, family breakdown was having a real effect on children: "There are very few people who have had as much experience of what is going on as the family judiciary.

"We have watched it get worse and worse and worse. The time for sucking our teeth is over. Waiting for government or others to take action is merely an excuse for moaning and inactivity."

The number of divorces in England and Wales in 2010 rose to 119,589 from 113,949 the previous year.

Its patrons include baroness Ruth Deech, Lord Justice Toulson and Lady Toulson, Barones Fiona Shackleton, the former personal solicitor to Prince William and Prince Harry as well as Sir Paul McCartney and Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss.

Anastasia de Waal, director of family and education at think-tank Civitas, said in January: “It is very important where you’ve got a judge who is making decisions about families that they are not clouded by a particular view but are looking at what is going to serve the family."

The controversial judge hit the headlines last year when he complained that getting a divorce is easier than getting a driving licence.

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