Sir Paul Coleridge has retired from the judiciary.
Sir Paul Coleridge was appointed a High Court Judge in the Family Division in 2000 after 30 years working as a barrister, specialising in family law. He founded the Marriage Foundation, a UK-based think tank that champions for long-lasting and stable relationships within a marriage.
His strong views on the importance of marriage and the detrimental effects of family breakdown have often landed him in the headlines.
In 2013 he was given a formal warning from the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office (JCIO) declaring that his decision to give an interview in which he discussed the “decline of marriage,” was “incompatible with his judicial responsibilities and therefore amounts to judicial misconduct”.
Coleridge made a statement at the time, saying that he felt that the decision to officially discipline him was not justified:
“I regard the ‘formal warning… as a disproportionate and unfair reaction to a few lines in two newspapers,” he said.
In December 2012 he angered gay rights activists by stating in an interview with The Times that gay marriage was “a minority issue”. This comment was also taken into consideration by the JCIO.
During an interview with the Telegraph in December 2013, Sir Coleridge spoke of the importance of stability for families and the role of marriage.
“If your relationship is stable enough to cope with the rigours of child rearing then you should consider seriously adding the protection of marriage to your relationship.
“If your relationship is not stable enough to cope with children you should not have them. You have a responsibility – you have no right to have children, you only have responsibilities if you have them.”
Speaking at his retirement event held in the Royal Courts of Justice, the former Mr Justice Coleridge said:
“I know how consoling and good a good marriage can be and how it gets better over the years and also how ghastly family breakdown can be. Something can and should be done to stem the tide of family breakdown. Family judges have a unique experience of this and therefore a unique contribution to make. We should not be afraid to speak out.”
“I cannot sit here day after day watching misery and doing nothing.”