By Daniel Martin, Mailonline
A senior judge has called for action to ‘stem the tide’ of family breakdown – as it was revealed Britain has more failed marriages than almost any other country.
Sir Paul Coleridge retired from the High Court’s Family Division on Thursday after he was formally warned over campaigning for marriage.
He said he could not ‘sit here day after day’ seeing the effect of family breakdown without speaking out against it.
In December he was reprimanded by heads of the judiciary after setting up the Marriage Foundation think tank and airing views in a newspaper article.
At a retirement ceremony yesterday, Sir Paul 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.’
Sir Paul’s comments came as an international report found barely half of UK adults are married – and almost one in ten are divorced or separated. Only four countries in the West have a higher proportion of divorcees who have not remarried.
Last night Norman Wells, of campaigners Family and Youth Concern, said the rise in unmarried cohabitation, outlined in the report, was a ‘disaster for children’ as it meant their parents were more likely to separate.