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(Court of Appeal, Rix, Black, Lewison LJJ, 14 November 2012)
When the two children were removed from their parents' care, contact arrangements were put in place. Although there had been some successful contact between the father and children he had also said very damaging things to them and was unwilling to accept criticisms of his behaviour. The local authority was granted a s 34(4) order permitting a cessation of contact between the father and children.
The father appealed, claiming that contact had not been the intended focus of the particular hearing and that the application for a s 34(4) order had not been made in advance and the father was only made aware of it on the day prior to the hearing.
The Court of Appeal found on the evidence that the father knew in advance the nature of the application the local authority was making and the basis upon which it was being made. He was aware of the issues and had the opportunity to address them before the order was granted.
The judge's three judgments had to be read together. A family judge built up knowledge of the family over a period of time. It was helpful if the judge made reference to earlier judgments but a failure to do so did not mean the earlier judgments should not be incorporated.
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