Family Law Hub

Re X [2012] EWCA Civ 1084

  • Case No: B4/2012/1113

    Neutral Citation Number: [2012] EWCA Civ 1084

    IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

    ON APPEAL FROM THE PRINCIPAL REGISTRY

    FAMILY DIVISION

    (MR JUSTICE JACKSON)

    Royal Courts of Justice

    Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

    Date: Tuesday 24th July 2012

    Before:

    LORD JUSTICE THORPE

    LADY JUSTICE HALLETT

    and

    LORD JUSTICE MCFARLANE

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    Re X

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    (DAR Transcript of

    WordWave International Limited

    A Merrill Communications Company

    165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY

    Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838

    Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Mr Paul Stovey QC (instructed by Blackfords) appeared on behalf of the Appellant.

    The Respondents did not appear and were not represented.

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    Judgment

    Lord Justice McFarlane:

    1. I am going to direct that there is an urgent and prompt transcript of what I am about to say. It is not the judgment; it is a statement describing the outcome.

    2. We will allow the appeal and direct that there should be disclosure of the material which describes any account X has given or retracted in relation to these matters and that that disclosure should take place to the mother, to the children's guardian and to the father. In making that order this material, like all other material in family proceedings, is confidential within the proceedings and is not to be disclosed by any party outside the people who know about it within the proceedings.

    3. The principal reason for coming to that conclusion is that we take the view that the mother having come to learn of X's identity in the way that she did and then understandably having the encounter with X which she did but again understandably that encounter only being almost monosyllabic or very short leaves her in the worst of all possible positions and leaves the proceedings and the father in an extremely difficult state with the mother holding the position of adhering to the essential truth, as I think she would say, of what she has been told but not knowing any of the detail of that 'truth'.

    4. We also take note of the fact that Jackson J on at least two occasions in the judgment indicates his view as to the essential probity or value, or lack of it, of this material and we think it is in the interests of the parties to these proceedings and the child A that the mother, the father and the guardian should be privy to whatever detail there is of what X has said.

    5. We therefore propose disclosure on that basis.

    6. I should record that we have taken full note of what is said about X's condition and the potential impact for her of disclosure. Our view is that that may not be at the extreme level that Jackson J characterised it to be, but our principal reason is the first one that I have given which is that the situation has reached the stage that it has reached and it is now untenable to hold the case in some form of tension which is irresolvable with some people knowing something but none of the parties to the proceedings knowing the full detail.

    7. We have rejected the alternative of dismissing the appeal and directing that the trial should be undertaken by a judge who has not read the material. That outcome, for the reasons that I have briefly described namely the mother's position and the father's position at the final hearing, seems to us to be unworkable and to store up more problems than it solves.

    Order: Appeal allowed

Judgment, published: 13/12/2012

Topics

See also

  • Appeal against decision to disclose third party allegations of sexual abuse in contact proceedings. Appeal dismissed. Judgment, 12/12/2012, free

Items referring to this

  • Father's appeal, in these long running proceedings, against a finding that he had sexually abused a member of his family, in circumstances where the victim had asked that her identity be kept private. Case note, 21/08/2014, members only

Published: 13/12/2012

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