"It is tragic that this father has had to wait so long for this to be resolved. A child's best interests are hardly served by a case that is dragged on over a period of time and at great cost" - Matt O'ConnorJudge switches custody to father10.10AM, Sat Jul 3 2004
A key court decision to grant a father custody of his daughters after the mother flouted contact orders for four years has been welcomed by campaigners.
Fathers 4 Justice said that the High Court ruling was a vital victory and called for more judges to take a similar stance when faced with resistant parents.
The comments come after Mrs Justice Bracewell transferred the residence of two young girls to their father because the mother persistently refused him contact, despite court orders.
But Fathers 4 Justice, famed for members throwing flour bombs at Tony Blair in the House of Commons, warned that such moves were still very rare and often came too late.
Founder Matt O'Connor said: "We obviously welcome Mrs Justice Bracewell's judgement but I am afraid she is one of the more enlightened members of the judiciary."
Mrs Justice Bracewell, sitting in the Family Division, awarded custody to the father, known only as Mr V, in May but the ruling has only just been made available.
The "V" couple separated in 2000 and divorced last year. From the time they stopped living together, Mr V had not been allowed any contact with his two daughters, now aged seven and nine.
Mrs Justice Bracewell held that Mrs V had "undermined contact and had agreed to it without any intention of making it work."
She said she had coached her children to make allegations, and invented or grossly exaggerated minor incidents to justify stopping contact.
The judge accepted that Mr V had proved himself totally committed to his children and that the only way for them to have a relationship was to transfer residence to him.
Mr O'Connor said: "It is tragic that this father has had to wait so long for this to be resolved. A child's best interests are hardly served by a case that is dragged on over a period of time and at great cost.
"We welcome the decision, but so often such things are too little too late."
May 26: Father mounts cinema roof protest
Apr 2: Child access for Dads to be debated