by Robert Whiston FRSA July 6th 2012
Charge into any minefield and the chances of being blown up are high. Rob George’s foray into the strange and contradictory world of custody matters has brought him nothing but shrapnel-like rebukes – but what does he expect, a pat on the back ?
Play with fire and sooner or later you’ll get burnt. Dr Rob George has played with fire, got some of the basic building blocks wrong and is being flamed as a result.
One can’t even excuse the blunders by pointing to the parallax phenomenon (one where an object’s apparent change in position is due to the viewer’s position).
Dr Robert George, of the Law Faculty, University of Oxford is described as specialising in family law and policy. He is one of many who stand by the claim that only 10% of cases end up in court. Although he uses government produced statistics he comes to wildly different conclusions to many others, especially those that have been at the actual coal face and have been through the divorce courts.
As an academic and one who is capable of influencing events should we treat Dr Rob George merely as an innocent abroad, or armed and dangerous ?
The origins of the “10%” claim were first examined in 2004 when it was found that:
- “The Omnibus Survey [circa 2004] is a multi-purpose survey based on a representative sample of adults aged 16 or over. The report is based on 935 adults. 649 were resident parents 312 were non-resident parents and 26 respondents were both (so are counted in both categories). The DfES made available the results on Friday 19th March 2004.”
Perhaps it should be noted that more recent versions of this survey are said to embrace a larger sample size. However, the Omnibus Survey into Non-resident parental contact, 2007/8 (Report No. 38), and cited by Rob George on his blog has this to say about respondents:
- “The achieved sample comprises of 265 respondents who were resident parents and 170 respondents who were non-resident parents. There were 10 respondents who were both a resident parent and a non-resident parent.”
- As in 2002, the majority (89%) of resident parents were female while the majority of non-resident parents were male (88%).”
Confidence in the ONS’s ability to produce reliable data is again undermined when the question of cohabiting is examined. For instance the Financial Resources Survey (FRS), questioned approximately 1,900 people living in Great Britain using a random general population sample. This identified 67 people who had cohabited for at least six months and who had separated from that cohabitation within the last four years. Only 20 of these 67 formed part of the ONS sample frame (page 57).
Addendum: April 2013 – An academic voice has at last joined our contention that the 10% figure is a nonsense. In written evidence to the Children and Families bill committee, Prof. Parkinson (author of Australia shared parenting law reform) poured scorn on the claim in child custody matters that “Only 10% choose to come to court over contact arrangements.” In written evidence put before parliament shows why it is wrong and unreliable (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmjust/739/739vw09.htm
This 10% figure has been cited extensively over the years and by Prof. Liz Trinder (and her inner circle of Jenn McIntosh), Peacey and Hunt (2008) and as far back as Joan Hunt & Ceridwen Roberts (2004). For a brief review of its importance and impact see also “Parkinson’s cavalry crushes Norgrove’s big guns” http://equalparenting.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/16-2/.
What is not in contention is that children should have a strong and on-going relationship with their father and mother after divorce / separation. This liberty /freedom should be made available to all regardless of income or social class or marital status. As Rob George’s correctly states the case:
- “ . . . this isn’t really a debate about the principle that children should have strong involvement from both parents – it’s a debate about the practical ways in which that principle should be applied.”
The dear Doctor then sets out to “. . .. demonstrate why changing the law to promote shared time for children of separated parents is a misguided idea that will harm children.” And this is where he loses it.
He seems unacquainted with the 1986 study by the Law Commission into ‘joint custody’ – arguably the precursor to shared parenting. They found that in some court circuits joint custody accounted for 30% of awards and in others almost 50%. 
So were separated parents ‘misguided’ and judges delinquent in the 1980s ? Were children put at risk in the manner that the anti-shared parenting lobby say will befall children if reforms go through ?
Despite admitting that “A lot of people know someone who has been involved with the family courts, either as a parent or as a child” he maintains that research has consistently shown that only about 10% of separating parents go to court about child custody.
Most divorcing couples have chidlren and who gains custody of them dictates what assets are are seized by the court and awarded to the one parent. In other words, there is everything to fight for, so why would 90% of divorcing couples say “I have no interest in anything I own, so take what you want.”
By common consent no one will readily admit to having had a good or satisfactory divorce and by extension, matters are even more fraught and stressed when one’s children are concerned.
George says that:
- “The large majority of parents sort things out without help from the court, either entirely privately or with other assistance from professionals (usually family solicitors, who are skilled at negotiating and settling cases).”
Can this be true ? Is the corollary that society doesn’t care enough about the remaining 90% to ensure they have good post divorce parental arrangements ? Is this as a cipher for being abandoned as a ‘nonentity’ and tossed onto life’s dung heap ?
By a ‘large majority’ does George mean 90%, i.e. the balance, or somewhere over 50% or 60% ? For the time being and to keep matters simple, let’s assume it’s the 90%.
Latterly, the number of divorces has been in the region of 140,000 per annum. If only 10% had to go to court then we could expect courts to deal with 14,000 cases, approx that number of court orders would be made, and approx. that number of Welfare Reports written out by CAFCASS – but what do we find ?
Basing calculations on current year divorce numbers being in the region of 140,000 is therefore reasonable.
From the Table, shown left, there were a total of 109,656 court orders – the bulk of them, 89,346, were made at the County Court level. Of these, 35,815 were for a ‘residence’ order and 38,405 were for a ‘contact’ order (click to enlarge).
If things were so ‘hunky-dory’ why did over 38,000 seek a ‘contact’ order when supposedly only 14,000 troublesome families should have applied to court to sort out their arrangements (140,000 x 10%) ?
In fact the situation appears to have deteriorated in the years between 2002 and 2011. Far more ‘contact applications – which typically fathers apply for – were made. There was an increase in 2011 of 56% over 2002. The situation for ‘residence’ – which for 30 years has always been a step too far for fathers to achieve – has nonetheless marginally altered with 9,000 more ‘hopefully’ making an application in 2011 (and by inference, succeeded), than in 2002 (39,123 vs. 30,006).
2002 is a notable date since in that year an abortive attempt was made by the LCD to give fathers more contact time following on from the paper “Making Contact Work.”  Abortive because the exercise was turned into a whipping boy by the radical feminist on the committees who were opposed to any increase in fathers’ rights or contact time.
This quote from page 94 of that Report is more than a little apropos:
- “Having described the Australian reforms [of 1995 ?] set out above, Professor Walker continues: –
- Research in Australia has shown that most applications to enforce contact refer to consent orders, indicating that disputes are not usually the result of the flouting of court orders, but the failure of parents to make consent orders work. The conclusion drawn is that the reasons for the breakdown of contact arrangements are much more complex than had been presumed. Furthermore, enforcement orders rarely succeed in resolving contact disputes. The arrangements made at the time of divorce may not be workable in the months and years following. Rethinking contact arrangements may be more helpful than enforcement of orders. There is a suggestion that greater scrutiny of private arrangements is needed.”
‘Not workable’, that’s the factor George has missed out of hids theoretical model. It has only taken 10 years to reach that point where “Rethinking contact arrangements may be more helpful”, i.e. shared parenting which will prove more helpful than the present failed system.
From the Table above, the only decline in numbers appears to be in the ‘parental responsibility’ category the status of which was altered some years ago (circa 2002), to give automatic parental responsibility to both married and unmarried fathers (yet somehow 5,224 find that they still need to apply, why is that ?).
Given that the numbers divorcing has remained relatively stable and a ‘plateau’ achieved, how are we to explain the court order variances between 2002 and 2011 ?
Will CAFCASS reconcile the differences or simply confirm a clash ? According to the Annual Report published by CAFCASS, private law applications, i.e. divorces, fell by 1.6% from 44,471 in 2009-10 to 43,759 for the year 2010 – 2011. 
Put conservatively, the difference between CAFCASS’s output and Dr George’s estimate is almost 30,000 applications (14,000 vs. 43,000). However, this hides the two fold nature of CAFCASS; its public law workload that year of 11,986 and its separate private law cases numbering 43,759 cases.
Both types of cases often included more than one child, so the combined number of children that CAFCASS worked with in the year 2010 was, according to their Annual Report, 147,000 (or over 100,000 more than George’s estimate).
Is the situation getting worse or have the parameters changed ? In 2007-08 CAFCASS worked with 77,134 children (a 50% difference).
Table 2.4 (‘Family matters’) produced by the Ministry of Justice shows that in 2011 the total number of applications was some 178,517. There is a significant difference at first glance between 178,517 and the 109,656 “Orders made” total shown in the previous table. However, Tables 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 in the same series are all consistent with one other (displaying 109,656 as the total). Only Table 2.24, displaying 178,517 & 183,718 as the totals, is at variance. All four Tables relate to the number of children affected and not the number of cases and a footnote underlines this point, ‘Figures relate to the number of children subject to each application.’
One has to assume that a proportion were re-applications for orders that were not complied with. The variance may also be due to technical reasons in collating / putting together the data but whatever the reason all the totals are far removed from the “only 10% of divorcing couples go to court” belief. With divorce absolutes numbering 119,610 in 2011, the 109,000 total of order applications is more likely to be over 50% and closer to 90% of all divorces. 
If the greater proportion of parents sort out custody matters with help from family solicitors and other professionals who are skilled at negotiating and settling cases, what happens when some of these 90% of arrangements begin to fall apart ? Do they end up in court or go back to their family solicitors (who, by the way, as it is a conflict of interest cannot act for both) ?
For reason known only to himself, George blunders again when he claims, by osmosis, that it doesn’t take much imagination to realise that:
- “ . . . many of the 10% who do end up in court are the most conflicted, the most bitter, and the most complicated cases.”
How wrong can you get ? Has he spoken to any of these people ? Has he listened to their stories ?
This is where he becomes a dangerous innocent abroad.
Couples that end up in court probably started out on their path to divorce with all the best intentions but as we see all the time with lottery winners and beneficiaries of wills, greed and ill-will can, like a cancer soon creep in.
Surprise is exhibited that fathers want a share of their children’s lives. This surprise is invariably voiced by those who have not had nor are the likely to have their incomes, future income and pensions ‘raided’ (see Table 2.7 left).
Every year somewhere in the region of 24,000 husbands will not only lose the home where they lived but suffer a slash in their disposable income – due to a divorce the majority never asked for.
Piled on top of this indignity is the necessity to have to negotiate with court and ex-wife (who may have her own agenda) as to when and how long for one might see one’s children. We don’t deprive common criminals of so many fundamental rights or make them endure so many humiliations devised by fanatics. Too late the hero, Ruth Deech sees the error of her ways and the “vengeful” nature of ancillary relief she helped to created in the late 1960s.
Conversely, couples that cannot get along well probably give up negotiating and go their own separate way. George seems blissfully unaware that solicitors’ advice to husbands defending a divorce or seeking shared residence were told (and probably still are), to save their money as they won’t ‘win’ in a custody fight regardless of how strong may be their case. Perversely, these couples can be said to escape from the divorce process with only moderate emotional damage.
George then aggregates this group by impugning that “research shows that the cases that go to court have very high rates of domestic violence.” What twaddle.
Research shows only that ‘claim’ of domestic violence are high but there is no research to show that the level of substantiated claims might be high. Those are two different things. George is blissfully unaware of the silver bullet stratagem used in custody cases in order to destroy the credentials of the other parent.
Let’s take a recent and extreme example, horse trainer Vicky Haigh, aged 41:
- “ . . . who was named and shamed earlier this year after she falsely accused her former boyfriend of being a paedophile . . . . . and for making up the allegations and coaching her daughter to repeatthem.” 19th Dec 2011.
Rob George says he doesn’t like anecdotes and we would agree with him. Too often Women’s Aid and Refuge, for example, have won over or morally blackmailed their audience with horrific one-off tales. The BCS casts a different picture. Since the mid 1990s actual events of domestic violence have decreased year upon year (ref.”Modern Urban Myths – Domestic Violence Some Questions Answered”). 
Research produced in 2008 by Joan Hunt and Alison Macleod – which George cites (see later) – is typical of the feminist use of the anecdote and one can understand why George cringes whenever its used.
Factually speaking, violence in the home and interpersonal abuse appears to be declining. Table 2.9 (right) show that ‘Non-molestation Orders’ far from increasing are subsiding.
Non-molestation Orders go hand in hand with Occupation Orders and enable female spouse to rid the house of the owner, i.e. usually the husband. From the tables above (2.8 and 2.9), it is clear there has been no upward trend or notable increase between 2007 and 2011.
In a scene that could be straight out of “Dr Strangelove” George concedes that, well maybe, the better part of 100,000 cases will negatively impact children and that “. . . . no doubt there are a few cases where the judge gets it wrong.”
Well, thanks a bunch for that concession one might respond, but when a judge gets it a bit wrong its a ‘life sentence’ – it fouls up one entire life and ruins a child’s future.
How like the slightly deranged US General in the White House nuclear bunker describing the advantages of a ‘first strike’ who has to concede that: “ … “I am not saying we won’t get our hair muzzed.”
His solution for when the odd judge gets it wrong is to go to the High Court and or the Appeal Court. Obviously he has never been a paying client there. If the very wealthy shrink from the costs of a high court action, how will the remaining 95% of us afford it ?
Error is piled upon error as George digs his hole ever deeper. Look, he says, I accept that not enough is done to stop mothers’ gatekeeping, i.e. keeping good fathers away from their kids, but these cases he claims “are a tiny and unrepresentative minority.” How can they be so tiny when gatekeeping and enforcement were the subjects of much debate during the LCD 2002 enhanced contact programme ?
Gatekeping is endemic in Britain and in all other countries that you can think of that have the same custody regime. If George doesn’t like anecdotes then he should liaise with fathers’ groups, work on the helplines, or better still read Warren Farrell’s book on the subject of gatekeeping (Father and Child Reunion). Maybe then he will take it seriously enough to undertake some research into the phenomenon rather then retorting that it doesn’t exist in sizeable quantities ?
It is neither rhetoric nor myth but a sad truth that some mothers are ‘hostile and vengeful’ – many others are manipulative. The divorce industry and legal establishment long ago coined a phrase for their conduct, “implacable hostility” (how old, one wonders, is this boy George ?).
The whole idea of the 2002 PSA-8 initiative launched by the LCD was to increase fatherly contact time. The outcry against gatekeeping and the perception of colluding by the courts which was shocking and a matter for immediate and serious reform finally produced a feigned attempt at reform that ended in an abortion.
Rob George sees no contradiction is maintaining the 10% figure while admitting that:
- “ . . . records for 2010 . . . show that 95,500 cases went to court about children’s contact arrangements.”
The insanity is resolved later in the same paragraph. Apparently, only 300 cases ended with the court specifically refusing to allow the father to see his child. Which planet has this man been on for the past 20 years one wonders ? No one is in the least bit interested in the 300 order refusals. Why is Rob George playing so dumb ?
Table 2.4 (right) shows data for 2011 with the ‘order refused’ column indicating ‘parental responsibility’ was refused 45 times and contact refused on 333 occasions (shown in red), i.e. similar to 2010.
For George, this makes his case. Those 300 cases which ended with the court specifically refusing to allow the father to see his child proves his point. He states that it represents 0.31% of litigated cases of all separating families.
But to focus on this is to either misread the issue out of ignorance or deliberately refuse to understand what is at stake in the numbers.
People are not percentages and a crusade, a wave of change supported by 80% of those polled, cannot by definition exist on only 0.3% of a population.
It is not a matter of one or other type of order being ‘refused’, it is being granted a). a sensible amount of time b). that such an order allows to fathers satisfacory access and b). how often residence is awarded or offered to fathers.
Fathers groups want to see the present 108,552 contact orders expanded to cover 100% of fathers, with the usual caveats. It is usually fathers who apply for contact as it is automatically gifted to mothers together with residence. Secondly therefore, a clearer demarcation is needed as to who is applying for residence – the mother or the father and the number of times it is granted refused by parent – something along the lines of the pre-Children Act 1989 regime (for the youngsters among you !). An extra column could be added for shared parenting or, if the old formatwas revitalised, the ‘joint custody’ column simply renamed.
Were opponents to shared parenting to concede and allow the average minimum to be doubled from it current 14%. to 28% much of the ardour for reform would evaporate. But such in the political pig-headedness of such opponents that they stand to be cut down where they stand – en masse – and lose thier reputations to boot.
George concludes that in 96.52% of cases that went to court, judges made orders which involved at least some contact between both parents and their children. This is probably true, in 96% of cases residence would be awarded to the mother and the father allowed to visit but unfortunately in the context of making a difference and feeling part of the child’s life these numbers are an irrelevance.
His total misreading of the situation immediately puts one in mind of a 1993 film “Falling down.” George is ‘Rick’, the hapless manager of a hamburger joint whose adherence to petty rules and ignoring the cardinal rule that “The customer is always right” results in a gun being pointed in his direction by an otherwise calm, regular ‘Joe’ played by Michael Douglas. 
The Michael Douglas character has just about had enough of being fobbed off and jerked around by divorce courts, big business and bureaucracies. He wants a breakfast but ‘Rick’ tells him he can only order lunch.
- “I don’t want to order something from the lunch menu !”
Finally, when he is offered his hamburger from the bungling manager it looks nothing like its portrayal on the wall:
- “You see, that’s what I’m talking about. Can anyone tell me what’s wrong this picture ?”
It’s a pity the scene didn’t take place in a Waffle House because that’s what George is doing – waffling. And I predict that by the time these academics have done their damage, shared parenting will look nothing like we envisaged it and we too will be left asking: “Can anyone tell me what’s wrong this picture ?”
To avoid mutiny in the streets it is not surprising that ‘family courts adopt a strongly pro-contact position.’ It is something of an unwarranted slur to suggest that courts “ . . bend over backwards to promote relationships between parents and their children in the most challenging of circumstances” when only between 5% and 10% of families can be termed ‘high conflict.’ The very number that Rob George says uses the family courts. So where does that leave the remaining 100,000 couples ?
According to many academics, who one has to suppose are confirmed bachelors or spinsters, all this time ‘thingy’ is irrelevant and very puzzling. Along the way some facts, a la Barclays bank, have been bent and this bending includes judges. For instance in answer to Mr Keith Vaz MP, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss said in 2004: 
- “So far as the principle is concerned [i.e. of bias against fathers being given custody], there is nothing in itatall. There is absolutely nothing in the law thatleaves the courts to choose one parent rather than another. We look at the cases on the basis of which is the better parent because the welfare of the child is paramount, but all judges are human. It may be that some judges will, I do not know, I have not come across it, but it is possible.”
How right she is – there is ‘absolutely nothing in the law’ thatleaves the father disadvantaged, it’s just a coincidence thatover 90% of awards go to mothers.
However, just prior to that at Question No 23, Keith Vaz asked Dame Elizabeth what was her view about the perception that the family court system is biased against fathers –something he had noted in his career as a barrister ? Her long reply is broken up into its components, and it was this:
- Well, it is untrue for a number of reasons. First of all, the Children Act requires us to treat spouses equally and parents equally, and my experience is that we do.
- I must have found, like both my brethren, for fathers on many, many occasions, but the situation is basically that when parents separate, the vast majority of children stay with mother and for the minority who stay with father,atthe end of the day probably what we call the status quo is the situation which occurs because the child is settled there, and in cases where father is caring for the children, that is where the children are likely to stay.
- I have not come across in recent years, certainly in the Court of Appeal when I was there or now as President sitting both in the Court of Appeal and the High Court, cases where I have come across any bias in favour of mother or prejudice against father.
- I think one of the problems is that the public do not know what we are saying and I feel quite strongly, and what I had to say was endorsed and repeated by James Munby in the judgment that hit the headlines, that we ought to be giving our judgments to a far greater extent in public, and I think if we did that, whether we would dispel the perceptions, I do not know, but at least those who wanted to read them would know what was actually going on, but it is not true.
This is so dishonest at several levels.
At item 2 the “found for father” reference means made a custody award (i.e. found) in favour of a father and her ‘on many, many occasions’ amounts to less than 20 cases, in her, quote, ‘long career.’ Worth reading too are questions No. 23 to No. 26.
George then refers to some “high-quality” research produced by Joan Hunt and Alison Macleod (but my view, over some years, is that some authors more or less guarantee the framing of the agenda and results). 
Essentially they investigated, in 2008, this question of ‘meaningful’ amounts of contact, or whether they were ‘token’ amounts. One can readily empathise with this “incredibly time-consuming research” by actually going to courts for days. But how George can then leap to the conclusion that Hunt & Macleod could pronounce with “absolute certainty” what was going on in the courts when their sample size of only 300 somewhat sabotages it.
From this sample of 300 cases they found that in almost all cases, the courts gave fathers exactly what was asked.
- “If they asked to have the children stay with them one night a week, that’s what they got. If they asked for half the school holidays, that’s what they got.”
Everyone likes a happy ending but 96% of “fathers got whatthey wanted” is only the headline. Contact is the legal right to see one’s own child, it is not a quantum of time andit is no guarantee the agreement will be honoured. So to write that“judges made orders which involved at least some contact” moves the debate along not one jot.
The standard issue ‘contact’ time is 14% per annum of the child’s life. With flourishes for weekends and school holidays they can increase to around 25%. This sound quite reasonable for most fathers except when one considers that this time is on licence and subject to arbitrary withdrawal without notice. Would a tenant tolerate such terms in his tenancy agreement ? Indeed, would they tolerate an only daylight hours tenancy only with occasional permission to stay over-night at weekends ?
To compare and contrast the statement that 96% of “fathers got what they wanted” let us look at what they ended up with.
The graph (right) shows ONS statistical data indicating that less than ‘1 in 5’ children (18%) have a sleepover privilege with their father (click to enlarge). And only 1 in 10 has a sleepover ‘at least once a fortnight.’ A pitiful 4% of children are only allowed a sleepover during the school holidays. This means that they do not sleep over at weekends or during the week.
“Cathy come home”
Everyone would agree with George that it would be wrongheaded to seek far reaching reforms when only a tiny number of families are adversely affected by the failings of the present regime.
Any unrepresentative minority should not be allowed to dictate reforms of an entire system – but isn’t that precisely what is being condoned by those opposed to shared parenting when they keep pointing to its unsuitability for ‘high conflict’ families ? Frankly, the present system is also unsuitable for high conflict families so the obvious and easy solution is to fast track them onto a branch line for special attention.
In trying to fan the flames by raising the spectre of the potential dangers of systematically downplaying the dangers to children and mothers of domestic violence, Rob George again makes another slur, this time against fathers who he portrays as too keen to promote father-child relationships as if somehow this was selfish (but utterly unselfish for mothers).
American Prof Linda Neilson (Nov 2011) has been forthright in her criticism of fellow researchers who a). rely on reviews written by their academic friends and b). researchers who look at only a few shared parenting sources (a practice more common than one would imagine):
These questions have become increasingly relevant for at least three reasons. First, shared residential custody is becoming more prevalent. Until recently only 5% to 7% of [US] children lived at least one third of the time with their father. Most lived exclusively with their mother, spending only four or five nights a month—at most—in their father’s home (Kelly, 2007). But a change is clearly underway. For example, in Arizona and in Washington State, 30% to 50% of the children whose parents divorced in the past several years are living at least one third of the time with each parent (George, 2008; Venohr & Kaunelis, 2008), as are 30% of the children whose parents divorced in Wisconsin between 1996 and 2001 (Melli & Brown, 2008). Likewise, in Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden 18% to 20% of children whose parents have separated are in shared residential custody (Smyth, 2009; Spruijt & Duindam, 2010).
Do we really want to make custody an all-female zone ? An examination of child abuse by parent shows that mothers inflict far more then fathers. Ditto with mental instability levels. And it doesn’t just stop at that – see child homicides Table by perpetrator (Aus) above. This table is far from unique. Across the entire English speaking world the same bias by gender is observed.
Those of a certain age will recall the heart wrenching docu-drama “Cathy come home” (BBC TV, 1966).
Were the circumstances Cathy and her new husband found themsleves in a ‘one-off’; or did it represent only 10% of couples; or was it endemic within a whole class of society ?
Whichever category it fell into the government of the day changed the law on homelessness – public opinion demanded it.
We are in the self-same situation now. A system that is known to be inadequate, creaking and blunt in the bounteousness of its application is, in public’s opinion, more than ripe for fundamental reform.
Doesn’t admitting that “. . . . courts are often willing to give parental responsibility to parents who have absolutely no involvement in their children’s lives as a ‘label’ or ‘badge’ tell you something about the system’s failure ?
Perversely, parents who want to engage with their children more fully are being thwarted even tuned away by the courts and then they are being failed by a hide bound intelligentsia.
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t call a halt to reform because it allegedly affects only 10% but yet endorse reforms when it affects a total of no more than 10%.
E N D
 Law Commission’s ‘Supplement to Working Paper No. 96’. by J. A. Priest and J. C. Whybrow (abridged version http://lawcommission.wordpress.com/1986/10/01/00001/ ).
 See also ONS http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=170 for 1961 – 2003, and http://web.archive.org/web/20060417084312/www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=170
 Annual Report 2010 – 11 http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/PDF/Cafcass%20Annual%20Report%20%20Accounts%202010-11%20web.pdf
 Table 2.5 Family matters Summary statistics on matrimonial proceedings, 2007-2011 http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/statistics/courts-and-sentencing/jcs-2011/family-matters-tables-chp2-2011.xls
 Transcript of the parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Affairs – oral evidence session, Tues 9 Nov 2004. http://www.c-g.org.uk/issues/shame/debs/select-comm-evidence.htm
 “Outcomes of applications to court for contact orders after parental separation or divorce”