Principles of Fairness and Justice
The Court Watch Program and the Family Justice Review Committee Program are based on the core principles and beliefs that all our members and supporters believe in and are committed to. As citizen owners of our nation, these are the principles upon which we believe our judicial and family law system should be based.
Members and supporters of the Court Watch Program believe:
A) IN MATTERS RELATING TO THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM
1) That the judicial system and those who work within it have an obligation to serve the community and to ensure that the rights of the people shall always take precedence over government bureaucracies and institutions.
2) That the community should play a vital role and should work co-operatively with the courts and legal profession to help ensure that justice is being interpreted and delivered in a manner expected by the community for its citizens.
3) That people in a community must take a leadership role in teaching themselves, their children and their neighbours about their Rights, Freedoms, and Liberties and that they should just not leave it up to the legal system itself to ensure that their rights and freedoms are protected.
4) That the judicial system must strive to provide justice as efficiently, effectively, swiftly, and inexpensively as possible and to actively pursue judicial research so as to create new and innovative methods for improving the execution of justice and to provide better service to the community.
5) That the adversarial approach used in family law, where each litigant is encouraged to fight for as much as they can get and where lawyers are obligated to do so, is not effective in resolving family conflicts and in many instances only creates further difficulties for children and their families. It must be changed to a more family-friendly system, one that recognizes that the rights of children, family and others in the community must not be sacrificed to the benefit of any single individual.
6) That the ethical integrity of the justice system is of paramount importance. That lawyers and judges should be held accountable to the highest of ethical standards. The public should never be satisfied knowing that lawyers and judges are not serving the people and that's the way it is and there's nothing that they can do about it.
7) That the judicial system has been created to serve the people, not rule the people. That those in the judicial system are paid to serve the public. Judges are persons from the community who have earned the respect of the community through their wisdom, good judgement and desire to see that their fellow citizens are treated with respect and dignity by the legal process.
8) That many court customs are outdated and ineffective for dealing with civil cases because it doesn't allow the parties or the witnesses to interact effectively with the judge. This often impedes the process of justice. This needs to be replaced by a less formal, more flexible and more friendy system for resolving most civil disputes. Although many court procedures have a long history of tradition, they must be open to change and modernization.
9) That money can be a corrupting factor and that the court system needs to actively look at it's policies and correct, as much as possible, anything that would allow money factors to influence the execution of justice. Lawyers, for example, should not be allowed to contribute money or to be involved in any business relationships that involve judges or their families. Judges should not be allowed to receive royalties from book or movie deals about trials they presided over.
10) That regulation of the judicial system must include meaningful participation by laypersons from the community. Self regulation by the Bar and Disciplinary Counsels cannot serve to best protect the public because there is an inherent conflict of interest. Regulation, in order to be effective, must have significant input from an independent body of citizens whose primary obligation is to protect the rights of the people, not those who are being regulated.
B) IN MATTERS RELATING TO SEPARATION - DIVORCE - CHILDREN
1) Upon separation, that every child is acknowledged to possess the right and be given the opportunity to share time with both parents in a fair and equitable parenting arrangement within a safe environment free from conflict.
2) Upon separation, that parents should be given the opportunity to parent their child within a parenting arrangement, which provides as close to equal parenting time as is possible. Acknowledgement that equivalent parenting time with each involved parent in a safe and loving environment is in the child's best interests.
3) Upon separation, that each and every parent must be given an equal and fair opportunity to demonstrate their capability and willingness to parent, along with contributing to aspects and issues which represent the best interests of the child.
4) That both parents contribute financially to the well being of their children. This contribution should reflect an amount that is fair and equitable, reflecting the ability and financial standing of each parent.
5) That families experiencing conflict during separation and divorce should receive ongoing support from the community until such a time that they are able to develop a working relationship between themselves that is in the best interests of their children.
6) Parental conduct which promotes cooperation and openness between parents, as well as encouraging the other parent’s participation in parenting of the child, shall be recognized as a significant factor in eliminating conflict and emotional stress which would be in the best interest of all members of the family.
7) That a child's friends, school and familiar community are important social factors that should not be disrupted due to separation and divorce if at all possible.
8) That conflicts endured by families are not isolated incidents that affect only those in the immediate family, but indirectly impact other members of the community as a whole and as such require the community as a whole to help solve them.
9) That families in conflict will benefit by a process that resolves their conflicts in the most non-adversarial manner as is possible.
10) That meaningful and effective positive motivators, as well as enforcement control procedures, will inspire parents to comply willingly to their obligations as parents and to the financial support of their children.
11) That positive parental role models, both male and female, play a vital part in the mental, emotional and spiritual growth of the child.
12) That both parents of separation or divorce have the right to the fair and equal opportunity of parenting their children, but maintaining their role as parent is a privilege that each parent must continue to maintained through their demonstration of parenting skills that recognize the needs of the child and the importance that both parents play in their children’s lives.