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Ditch the ‘soulless initials’ and give children a voice

Judges hold the key to unlocking the potential of children in the family justice system, writes Matthew Rogers

8 June 2017

Baroness Hale of Richmond has two ‘bees in her bonnet’. The first is legislation or reports that refer to children as ‘it’, which, she says, constitutes an ‘abuse of childhood in the English-speaking world’. The second buzzy bee are judgments that anonymise children with ‘soulless initials’.

In contrast to other judges, Lady Hale uses made-up names for the children that appear in her judgments and, speaking at Monday’s World Congress of Family Law and Children’s Rights in Dublin, she encouraged others judges to do the same. ‘Try and make it a plausible name, right gender, right ethnicity, but not their own, then the child really leaps off the page in a way they don’t if they are just an initial,’ she said.

Lady Hale’s bugbear with how a child is described in a j...

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