THE LANGUAGE OF LAW: A JUDGMENT THAT IS WRITTEN FOR THE BENEFIT OF A CHILD

A short tweet I did yesterday has caused dozens of comments. It is not about a civil case but a family case. However it is a matter of universal interest, the language of law.  In this case the judgment had a dual purpose.

THE CASE

In  X (A Child), Re [2018] EWFC B82 HHJ Lynch was giving judgment in a case where a child (younger than one) was to be adopted.   The language used is clear and concise. The reason for this is made clear in paragraph 21.  After explaining the background and the reasons for an order being made, the judge stated.

  1. There is one further direction I wish to make. I think it is hugely important for children who are adopted that they have information available to them, through their adoptive parents, so they can make sense of their early life. This judgment, in setting out what I have read and heard in court today, gives at least a summary of that start. I propose therefore to make a direction that this judgment must be released by the Local Authority to X’s adopters so that it is available to him when he is older. That release however is on the basis that it should not be disclosed beyond them or any medical or therapeutic staff working with the child or family. It is very important therefore that the judgment is passed on to the Adoption Team to give to them. I have written this not for the benefit of the grown-ups but for X and I wish to be sure it reaches him.