The Christian Institute

News Release

Hard Cases make bad law

The Christian Institute spoke out today against the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the Re A case.

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of the Christian Institute said today

“Re A is a highly unusual case. One thing is clear. Hard cases make bad law. The step-father in the case was acquited by an English jury of any criminal actions. This is no basis for the Strasbourg Judges to rule that the exisiting legal rights of parents to discipline their own children should be overturned.

Ordinary parents, over 90% of them according to opinion polls, believe that children need to be smacked sometimes. Peter Newall, the adviser in the Re A case believes that all smacking is child abuse. Apparently such an extreme view has held sway in the Court today.

The Re A case should have been dealt with on its own merits. Even if the English jury got it completely wrong, and there was a miscarriage of justice which is far from clear, a hard case is no basis to dismantle the present law.

To pretend that there are implications for all parents from this case is just plain silly. It is an over-reaction by the Court which defies common sense. “