Family Law Hub

Fact Finding

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  • The father appealed from a finding that he had sexually abused his daughter, on the basis that the judge had failed to apply the relevant legal principles to the evaluation of the child's evidence. Williams J found that the judgment was flawed and remitted the matter for further hearing, stating that "in relation to allegations of sexual abuse of young children the court must not only deploy the generic fact-finding approach but must in particular identify the need for special care to be taken in evaluating the reliability of the evidence of young children". Judgment, 03/04/2019, free
  • Father was appealing against 2 decisions: an order that a fact-finding hearing should be listed to deal with alleged domestic abuse and a refusal by the judge to make an order for interim contact while awaiting the fact-finding hearing. The judge in this case provides helpful guidance as to what Practice Direction 12J does, and doesn't, mean. Appeal dismissed on both grounds, although the judge did endorse the father's dismay at the length of time that he will have to await the determination of these issues. Judgment, 10/12/2018, free
  • The father's appeal against orders which were made after a hearing in which he was not permitted to cross-examine the mother was allowed. The judge helpfully, at paragraph 34, lists 11 points which could be used to deal with such cases (but was careful not to describe them as 'guidance') including a "Ground Rules Hearing" (GRH) once it becomes clear to the court that it is required to hear a case "put" to a key factual witness where the allegations are serious and intimate and where the witnesses are themselves the accused and accuser. Judgment, 30/07/2018, free
  • Father's appeal against a decision in which no order for contact was made with respect to the eldest child, and only limited provision was made for indirect contact to the youngest child. The appeal was allowed but the judge rules that it was contrary to the welfare interests of either of the children to contemplate a re-hearing. Judgment, 06/02/2018, free
  • Mother's attempt to re-open findings of fact that found no evidence that the father and grandfather had abused her son, and an appeal against an order that the child was to live with the father with limited supervised contact with the mother. Judgment, 13/10/2017, free

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