Family Law Hub

Re Q [2020] EWHC 1109 (Fam)

An appeal from a case management decision made in proceedings concerning the welfare of a six-year-old girl. The parents (the mother European, the father English) had been separated for some years. The mother made allegations of sexual abuse against the father, and contact was resumed after a finding of fact that there had been no sexual impropriety. The conclusion of an expert psychological report was that it would be in the child's interests for the father to become the primary carer. The Guardian recommended an immediate change of residence. The mother applied for an adjournment on the basis that the matter could not be determined fairly at a remote hearing. The application was refused, but at the start of the hearing, after reading the decision in Re P (A Child: Remote Hearings) [2020] EWFC 32, the judge vacated the hearing, with the matter to be relisted before her for a face-to-face final hearing in due course. The father appealed on the grounds that the judge had misapplied the judgment in Re P; there had been no material change in the circumstances between the two hearings; insufficient weight had been afforded to the child's welfare; and insufficient regard was given to the overriding objective in FPR rule 1.1. Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, allowed the appeal. There had not been new material in the father's position statement, and the judge's approach to the child's welfare had been in error. The decision to vacate the remote hearing would be set aside, and the matter remitted to the judge to redetermine the question of how and when the final hearing was to take place.

Judgment, published: 05/06/2020


Published: 05/06/2020


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