Thursday, June 19, 2008

Father doesn't know best, court rules

A Toronto Canada newspaper reports:
First, the father banned his 12-year-old daughter from going online after she posted photos of herself on a dating site. Then she allegedly had a row with her stepmother, so the father said his girl couldn't go on a school trip.

The girl took the matter to the court - and won what lawyers say was an unprecedented judgment.

Madam Justice Suzanne Tessier of the Quebec Superior Court ruled on Friday that the father couldn't discipline his daughter by barring her from the school trip. ...

Even though the school trip is now over, the father is appealing the ruling because his moral authority over his child had been undercut by the court, said his lawyer, Kim Beaudoin. "He is stunned by this situation. He feels like he's lost his daughter," Ms. Beaudoin said in an interview.

"My client wants to appeal so no other parents will live through the same thing."

Lucie Fortin, the lawyer representing the 12-year-old, said the judge found that depriving the girl of the school trip was an excessive punishment. ...

Before Judge Tessier, she cited Sections 159 and 604 of the Quebec Civil Code, which allow minors in some circumstances to initiate court proceedings relating to the exercise of parental authority.

Ms. Beaudoin said Section 159 is normally used in extreme circumstances, for example when a child wants to be removed from negligent parents.
Wow. I thought that there were some limits to judges' willingness to micro-manage parental decisions.

The school trip required parental permission. That means that the parents have the discretion to give permission, or withhold permission. No judge can possibly know whether the father was being reasonable. By undercutting his authority, there is likely to be trouble ahead for that girl.

No comments: