John is a long standing and greatly respected member of the charity Families need Fathers and he specialises in child access (contact) and custody (residence) disputes. He is a frequent and much sought after contributor to the media and has appeared as a panellist on the BBC current affairs program Let’s Talk, as well as contributor to the Nolan Show, UTV's Insight and BBC Newsline.
In 2003 as a first year law student he won a merit internship to the Ivy League law school at Cornell University, at Ithaca, New York. What John saw there in his time working in Child Protective Services and the family court in Ithaca made him realise how family law ought to work. There an order for Joint Custody was far from abnormal, whereas here in Northern Ireland such an order was like ‘hen’s teeth’. It is John’s intention to persuade and argue for equal treatment of parents following divorce and separation.
John is a person who knows from first hand experience that people who do not live most of the time with their children are treated poorly by statutory bodies, being denied status in areas such as student loans, bursaries, child benefit and the like. And despite assurances by the judiciary and others that there is no bias in family law against fathers; John’s 8 year experience at every level of court tell him different. John lobbies fearlessly and tirelessly on behalf of parents, and is frequently to be seen at Social Service case conferences advocating for vulnerable parents. He also takes cases on involving Grandparents
John graduated with a First in Law and Government from UUJ in
2006, and is currently reading for his Masters in Human Rights Law
at Queen's University Belfast.
To give a premier service we have taken the revolutionary step of developing working arrangements with professionals and other service providers which we draw upon as necessary. We have realised that we need to be able to call on people from all over the UK to assist our clients, not just local.
Based in Cumbria, Peter is a former CAFCASS officer who runs his own business assisting parents. Peter assists Fathers’ Legal Research with the court reporting process. A probation officer since 1977 Peter was appointed to the role of court welfare officer (CWO), dealing exclusively with family court matters; I was one of the first court welfare officers involved in the process of in court mediation in England and Wales and practised it at a time when it was unheard of in most areas. Court Welfare changed to CAFCASS and Peter was part of the transition to the new service. Peter remained in CAFCASS until he took early retirement in February 2002 and started Family Court Advice.
This means that in the last 15 years Peter has been involved exclusively in the law about children, in continuous court practice, in mediation, in dealing with solicitors, barristers and judges, and above all – a great advantage over solicitors – in dealing with the children themselves, and their wishes and feelings and well being. He has also dealt with both sides to the disputes and have seen the anguish caused to children and parents by such conflict. The basic principle that Peter has always followed is that unless there are proven reasons of personal safety or serious emotional damage, (both extremely rare), both parents should be equal in the eyes of any child, and the courts.
Based in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, Ruth is a vastly experienced and well respected McKenzie friend and Lay Advocate, who covers the North of England. She has a degree in English and is currently studying for Single Subject Higher Diploma (SSHD) in Family Law through the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX), before going on to do her Graduate Diploma in Law and onwards to her Legal Practitioner Course (LPC) or Bar Vocational Course (BVC). She has a particular interest in Public Law cases involving Adoption.
Tim specializes in appeals and is a leading member of the charity Families need Fathers and Fathers 4 Justice (F4J). Tim has two Degrees and was formerly an international security consultant and RAF pilot.