Boy, 15, seeks court order against parent: Judge will be asked to rule that mother should spend time with teenage son

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The Independent Online
A 15-YEAR-OLD boy will this week become the first person to use the courts to try to force his mother to spend time with him.

Matthew Lucas, of Southampton, will make a preliminary application under the Children Act at Hampshire County Court, according to a report in yesterday's Mail on Sunday. If he is successful, his argument will go before a High Court judge who may order his mother, Jill Lucas, to see him.

According to the report, Matthew left his mother's home in Bradford-on Avon, Wiltshire, on New Year's Eve 1991 and moved in with his father, Simon. Mr and Mrs Lucas were divorced in 1985. Since the beginning of 1992, the boy says he has been invited to his mother's home only three times. Last year, when he turned up at the hospital where his mother works, the police were called and he was temporarily taken into care.

Matthew was quoted as saying: 'She said when I saw her last that we could start a relationship by letter and build on that. But there is no way you can build a relationship by letter.'

Mrs Lucas's motives are not fully explained in the article. However, in an affidavit last year, she is reported as saying: 'It is in Matthew's best interests that he does not see me and therefore Mr Lucas will no longer be able to dictate my life, and Matthew will not be torn between us.' None of the family could be contacted yesterday.

John Wadham, legal director of Liberty, said he believed it was unlikely that a judge would order a mother to see her child if she did not want to. 'The Children Act is designed to put the child first and to take into account his or her feelings,' he said. 'However, it cannot be in a child's interests to keep turning up to see a mother who does not want to see him.

'It may well be in cases like this that the mother really does want to have her son living with her but would like the court to decide, rather than having him torn between her and his father . . . a mother may be prepared to forsake her son completely if she thought it was in his best interests.'