News

High Court judge uses emojis to help children understand family law judgment

By on

Mr Justice Peter Jackson also used simple language

lead

A High Court judge has embraced the modern world and used emojis to help children involved in a family dispute understand his judgment more easily.

In what is thought to be an English legal first, Mr Justice Peter Jackson has used the popular smiley face symbols to explain a complex point of evidence (screenshot below). Opting to use them on several occasions, the emojis (unfortunately) don’t appear in the online version of the judgment.

via The Telegraph
via The Telegraph

As well as using simple language throughout — law students, rejoice! — Jackson, who became a High Court judge back in 2010, reveals that he has kept things as “short as possible so that the mother and the older children can follow it”.

The case in question involved a British Muslim convert, who allegedly tried to take four children — a brother and sister plus two younger children of whom he is the biological father — to Syria. The family, who are originally from Lancashire, were eventually stopped by authorities in Istanbul, Turkey.

Jackson, avoiding complex legalese, explained to two of the children, aged 10 and 12, why they would have only limited contact with their father going forward. Referred to only as “Mr A” in the judgment for legal reasons, the father is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence after being found guilty of firearms offences earlier this summer.

Jackson, a former family law silk, has since been praised for his refreshing and unique approach. One Crown Office Row barrister Charlotte John described the top judge’s use of emojis and language as “refreshing”.

Meanwhile, family lawyer and blogger, Lucy Reed, hopes to see more of the same.

Go Jackson! ?

Read the judgment in full below: