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Challenging Speech by Mr Justice Coleridge at Family Dinner

Date:19 JUN 2009

Mr Justice Coleridge has become the patron of the Family Holiday Association - his first engagement with the charity was to speak at a Parliamentary dinner held Tuesday, 16 June.

In another challenging speech, Mr Justice Coleridge, a senior Family Court Judge with almost 40 years experience of family law, called for a National or even Royal Commission into the breakdown of family life.

He claimed that:

"We need to recognise that as a society we have real problems caused by the way we live and we need to face up to them, try to understand them and their causes and then try and remedy them. Although, superficially, these are private issues they become matters of public concern when they are happening on such a huge scale and affect detrimentally such a significant proportion of the population of all types and ages."

He went on to express concern about two programmes on the breakdown of family life that he made with the BBC which will not now be shown until late at night. He said:

"So we have a situation, it would seem, where the biggest and most highly regarded, publicly funded opinion former in the land regards these vitally important issues as 'too dark' to make a contribution to. Instead they either avoid engaging in the debate. That, I suggest is worrying."

The Family Holiday Association helps families that find themselves in distressed circumstances. It aims to provide them with the opportunity to enjoy time off away from the pressures of everyday life. The types of pressures families helped by the charity deal with include disability, bereavement, poverty, mental health problems, inadequate housing or abuse.

The Judge made headlines last year with an attack on what he described as "our fractured society". His latest speech on Tuesday night has already made headlines in a number of newspapers. Becoming a patron of the Family Holiday Association he said:

"Thank you for inviting me to be a patron of this excellent, well-focused charity. The welfare of families is of paramount importance and I am proud to be associated with it and its simple but effective aims."