What The Case Michelle Freedman vs. London Borough of Barnet Child Protection Really Tells Us

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Michelle Freedman already knew the work of UK social services in her role as UK family law barrister at  Clerksroom Chambers. She knew what happens to families who come in contact with the “system” and she knew also what happens to women who report abuse within the family to social services. 

It can only be ascribed to a naivety that she herself, in 2012, reported the abuse of one of her children by a former partner to the London Borough of Barnet Social Services. As horrendous as the ensuing events must have been for her and her family, she must have learned very valuable life lessons about the truth of her own profession and about a child protection system riddled with State cruelty.

Michelle Freedman was lucky as she had the legal experience from cases she had witnessed herself, as well as the resources to escape Barnet Social Services before those were successfully able to obtain a care order to seize Ms. Freedman’s children. Escaping the UK hastily, she made it with her children to Israel where she was able to outmaneuver Barnet Social Services who were attempting to return the children from Israel with the help of Israeli social services. Being on her own turf, however, and in all likelihood very well connected, those attempts by Barnet were fought back successfully by Ms. Freedman. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/familyadvice/9974950/The-lawyer-mother-who-beat-the-social-workers.html

In April 2013 a motion was put forward in the UK Parliament condemning LB Barnet for it’s actions and demanding a withdrawal of the care proceedings issued by Barnet social services against Ms Freedman. This was granted by a court in April 2013.

The parliamentary motion against Barnet states the following:

“That this House notes the withdrawal of care proceedings against Michelle Freedman by Barnet Council; further notes that Barnet Council has caused psychological harm to Michelle’s elder daughter; further notes that had she not left UK jurisdiction both her daughters would have suffered further psychological harm; further notes that Ms Freedman is a family court barrister with over 10 years’ experience and she left the jurisdiction because she was aware through her experience of similar cases that any local authority in this situation would be likely to invent allegations against her in order to win the case had she remained; further notes that legal proceedings were initiated because Ms Freedman had made a complaint against a social worker; further notes that Barnet’s case included a criticism of Ms Freedman that she had done what she had been asked to do by Barnet Council which it then claimed put her daughter at risk and that the rules of estoppel should normally have prevented this being used against Ms Freedman; further notes that the Government intends to reduce the access of parents to truly independent assessments which will make it easier for local councils to win cases by making things up; recognises that if a barrister has so little confidence in the system that she leaves the jurisdiction to avoid being subjected to false allegations by a local authority there are serious difficulties in the system; and calls for parliamentary committees and the Government to review this issue.” http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1271

In May 2013 Ms Freedman flew alone to the UK from Israel to pick up a few items left behind – she was promptly arrested at Lutton airport as she was about to take a flight back to Israel. Only some fast, legal savvy action saved her because she was shortly after released by the police. Barnet had in fact attempted to use the tip staff, i.e. the police, by handing them an old court order against Ms Freedman demanding her arrest, concealing from them a new court order issued in April 2013 that declared the case closed and Barnet Social Services demands to pursue Ms Freedman null and void. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/council-spending/10107475/An-illegally-arrested-mother-is-saved-by-her-phone.html

This case highlights a couple of things that are seriously wrong about the powers that UK Local Authorities have and how they abuse those powers at will and use a net of surveillance against individuals. In particular this case highlights many deeply disturbing things about Barnet Council and it’s Social Services, i.e. Child Protection Department.

Surveillance and London Borough of Barnet Social Services

Firstly, we need to ask ourselves how it was possible that Barnet Social Services was able to use the tip staff and the police to arrest Ms. Freedman and make them act on a void court order, hiding from the tip staff and police a court order that overrode any previous charges against Ms. Freedman.

Second, we need to ask ourselves how Barnet Social Services knew that Ms Freedman was in the country even though Ms Freedman probably went to great length to keep her visit to the UK secret. It is not too far fetched to assume that Barnet used the police and their power under RIPA as well as various public surveillance systems to track Ms. Freedman’s every movement without a court warrant. In fact a court order had exonerated Ms. Freedman.

Third, we need to inquire about the motives of Barnet Social Services in going to such lengths to illegally get hold of Ms. Freedman.

Fourth, we need to ask, what would have happened to Ms. Freedman if she would have not been able to be so quick in her thinking and to be released on the spot after her arrest? What would have happened if she would have not been able to prove at the spot that there is a court order exonerating her of all previous claims by Barnet?

Fifth, we need to ask what happens to all the unlucky other people out there who meet Barnet Social Services and who were not able to flee their clutches and their system of surveillance?

Cases like that of Ms. Freedman are most common and of most the public will never hear about. Prisons are filled with people who fell foul with a child protection system that is within itself riddled with the rot of cruelty; people who wanted to protect their children but didn’t knew how to play the kind of chess council politicians, foster and adoption businesses, social services, so called experts and  lawyers employ to silence dissent and eradicate any accountability towards the public and individuals. The UK policy of having secret family courts to protect the system is adding layer upon layer of mind blowing injustices that cover abuse and abusers and invite a whole host of child exploitation schemes. On top the UK is now – together with the US – employing mass surveillance to track every move people make, yet not to protect the public,  as the case of Ms. Freedman vs London Borough of Barnet Social Services clearly illustrates, but to protect themselves and their interest groups from any accountability.

My simple conclusion is: If the UK continues to go down this path of surveillance and cover up of abuse, the rot of cruelty will eventually destroy the country from the inside, which will in the last consequence be a blessing for all of humanity. But why punish children?