A High Court family judge has spoken out against Britain’s liberal divorce culture, encouraging couples to “mend it – don’t end it”.
Sir Paul Coleridge, who said he had seen the fallout from broken relationships in his many years of work in family justice, made the comments as he announced plans for a pro-marriage organisation.
The Marriage Foundation will aim to be a hub for information on marriage as well as commissioning research and eventually campaigning for “family-friendly” policies.
The Foundation is backed by prominent family law specialists Baroness Deech, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Baroness Shackleton.
Mr Justice Coleridge said: “Over 40 years of working in the family justice system, I have seen the fallout from these broken relationships.
“There are an estimated 3.8million children currently caught up in the family justice system. I personally think that’s a complete scandal.”
He added: “My focus is on the children. I am unashamedly advocating marriage as the gold standard for couples where children are involved. I desperately want to avoid a moral crusade.”
Sir Paul also told The Times newspaper that the legal profession “has made its fortune from marital breakdown; it is now time to put something in”.
He commented: “I am not saying that living together is wrong. But marriage, though not perfect, is better.”
Sir Paul said he wanted to encourage people not to have children unless their relationship is stable – and if it is stable, to provide extra stability through marriage.
Jill Kirby, an analyst specialising in social policy, said: “It is very good news that an eminent family judge can make such a stand on the importance of marriage and family structure.”
She added: “It is a change after years in which we have seen so many judges and lawyers try to undermine the status of marriage.”
Conservative MP for Canterbury Julian Brazier commented: “This can only help make the political and legal establishment aware of the importance of marriage.”