‘No gender bias in court system’

A senior jurist has denied that the law courts here are heavily skewed in favour of women involved in custody disputes with the fathers of their children.   Supreme Court Registrar Barbara Cooke-Alleyne said that despite the never ending refrain from male advocacy groups that women seemingly have a license to deny fathers the right to see their children, the court system has made great strides to ensure balance.

“I don’t believe that the court is skewed in any way because I am sure that there are some ladies who would say that the court favours men. You can’t win them all and the court is very aware of the gender issues,” Cooke-Alleyne told Barbados TODAY at the Ann Hill School, Pine Road, St Michael this morning following the launch of the Caribbean leadership project, a seven-year, CAD$20 million project aimed at strengthening the capacity of future leaders in the Caribbean to support gender-sensitive public sector reform and work collaboratively towards regional integration.

“Our Maintenance Act was actually amended a couple years ago to allow fathers to come to law courts to have access to their children and before that there was no legislation. This is because the magistrates have been doing some social engineering and in so doing recognizing that fathers need to have access for a child to have a holistic well-being.

“Of course you will still have the social enquiries report being done to determine where the child will be going, ensuring that the child will be safe. But the reality is that the law has actually changed to accommodate men in this regard. We are also involved with the Canadians in special projects and there is widespread gender training for all of us and Barbados is actually the pilot project for the Caribbean in this regard,” she added.

Men advocacy groups, led by the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA), have repeatedly complained that the court system favours women over men in cases involving access to their children.

Back in 2013 then MESA President Ralph Boyce said men’s rights in domestic affairs were either declining or non-existent.

The Maintenance Act was among legislation identified by Boyce back then, which he said had placed men at a disadvantage.

He charged then that men were being treated harshly when they go to court to deal with issues such as paying child support while women who refused to let men see the same children were allowed to escape without penalty.

More recently, Kammie Holder, founder of the newly formed male advocacy group, Access for Fathers, argued that some mothers continued to defy court orders by denying men their mandated time with their children.

However, Cooke-Alleyne explained that whether or not contempt charges would apply to a mother who did not comply with a court order for the child to spend time with the father, would depend on the mitigating circumstances.

She further pointed out that each case was unique and therefore could not be used to generalize the issue.

“It depends on who you speak to because everybody has a different opinion, but the fact remains that if you breach a court order you can be held in contempt and you can go to prison for that.

“It is however up to the individuals to go back to court and show good reason why they didn’t satisfy the court’s order and if the woman could actually prove her case then you are looking at a different scenario. You have to remember that each case is judged by its own particular set of circumstances,” she stressed.

8 Responses to ‘No gender bias in court system’

  1. Puppa Weekes November 10, 2017 at 5:58 am

    And who is saying this again?


    A Woman!


    • Jennifer November 10, 2017 at 7:27 am


  2. Kevin Branch November 10, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Ha …ha ..ha ..hee ..hee..hee ..ho..ho..ho…and I thought my jokes were bad….

  3. harry turnover November 10, 2017 at 6:55 am

    …..and when the fathers COMPLAIN to wunna bout they STILL CAN’T SEE THEIR CHILDREN…what wunna does do ?..I en hear bout na women getting LOCK UP for IGNORING wunna.
    Some gine say that if ya LOCK up them women who is going to take care of the children….daiz the excuse EVERY TIME.
    Show me cases where men have been allowed custody and the mothers ORDERED to pay MAINTENANCE IF SHE WORKING OR NOT …and while you are at it show me ONE CASE ..ONLY ONE where a woman has been HAULED BEFORE THE LAW COURTS EMBARRASSED and JAILED for NOT SUPPORTING HER CHILD
    Too many people bout this place feel that ONLY the MEN are to support their children.
    However, Cooke-Alleyne explained that whether or not contempt charges would apply to a MOTHER who did not comply with a court order for the child to spend time with the father, would depend on the MITIGATING circumstances.
    ….but when a man IS UNABLE to support his child because of MITIGATING circumstances TOO…his is hauled before the Law Courts and it is JAIL in he RH

  4. Greengiant November 10, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Men need to learn to address the court, even some attorneys seem afraid to robustly defend the rights of men in court. Most times modesty takes the place of legal aggression towards women by attorneys even when justified. The magistrates behave just the same. While both council and the court throw modesty and passivity through the window when dealing with men.

    So in that light, and only where that is concerned, would I say the playing field is not level. I’ve had at one stage of my life to fire an attorney, and represent myself, otherwise I don’t think I would have been favorably treated in court. I was also complimented by a then female magistrate, who is now a High Court Judge for the way I conducted, and represented myself in court. So my advice to young men is, educate yourself, broaden your knowledge on current affairs, and legal issues. Drink and party less while studying more, you’ll be better of for this approach.

  5. Mark Rosmar November 10, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Need some statistics not just the assertions of a female

  6. Caswell Franklyn November 10, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    What utter rubbish! Magistrates doing social engineering my foot! Magistrates are not High Court judges that can engage in any social engineering. A magistrate must interpret and apply the applicable statute. They don’t have the common law power that would allow them to do any social engineering like judges.

    The Registrar, a former magistrate, should have told her audience that magistrates’ hands are tied and she should have been asking for changes to the law.

  7. luther thorne November 10, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    There is gender bias. They gone clear. Everything revolves around them , No ?


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