The newspapers were quick today to report two court decisions yesterday where the best interests of children formed the core of the judgments. Both served to demonstrate what a difficult quest it can be for a Judge in determining best interests when sometimes there can be a very fine line between the available options.
In the first case the Supreme Court acted to reverse earlier decisions made in the Court of Appeal and High Court thus enabling a 3 year old child to remain in the care of his grandmother who had looked after him very much since birth, rather than move to live with his natural father. In the second, the Court of Appeal has refused leave to appeal to a mother who has been ordered to hand over her 11 year old son to the care of his father against, it was argued, the child’s wishes. The boy is reported as being vehemently opposed to seeing his father, but his guardian for the purpose of the court proceedings and a child psychiatrist agree that he is suffering emotional harm by being estranged from his father as a result of his mother’s attitude.
One has to wonder, when you see criticism levelled at the courts about decisions of this kind, why they are always expected to get it right when parents, who are also entrusted with the best care of their children, don’t.