Spotlight
Family Court Practice, The
Order the 2021 edition due out in May
Court of Protection Practice 2021
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Spotlight
Latest articles
Queer(y)ing consummation: an empirical reflection on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and the role of consummation
Alexander Maine, Lecturer in Law, Leicester Law School, University of LeicesterKeywords: Consummation – adultery – marriage – empirical research – LGBTQConsummation and...
A v A (Return Without Taking Parent) [2021] EWHC 1439 (Fam)
(Family Division, MacDonald J, 18 May 2021)Abduction – Application for return order under Hague Convention 1980 - Art 13(b) defence – Whether mother’s allegations against the father...
Domestic Abuse Toolkit for Employers
The Insurance Charities have released an update to the Domestic Abuse Toolkit for Employers.Employers have a duty of care and a legal responsibility to provide a safe and effective work...
Two-week rapid consultation launched on remote, hybrid and in-person family hearings
The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has announced the launch of a two-week rapid consultation on remote, hybrid and in-person hearings in the family justice system and the...
Pension sharing orders: Finch v Baker
The Court of Appeal judgment in Finch v Baker [2021] EWCA Civ 72 was released on 28 January 2021. The judgment provides some useful guidance on not being able to get what are essentially...
View all articles
Authors

CARE PROCEEDINGS: Re F-H (Dispensing with Fact-Finding Hearing) [2008] EWCA Civ 1249

Sep 29, 2018, 17:35 PM
Slug : re-f-h-dispensing-with-fact-finding-hearing-2008-ewca-civ-1249
Meta Title :
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : No
Prioritise In Trending Articles : No
Date : Sep 10, 2008, 04:23 AM
Article ID : 88633

(Court of Appeal; Longmore and Wilson LJJ; 10 September 2008)

A fact-finding hearing had been ordered into the alleged sexual abuse of four children by their elder sibling. There was a family history of making and encouraging false accusations of sexual abuse. The local authority believed that the mother had encouraged one of the children to embellish her account of abuse, and another to make a false allegation of sexual abuse. The local authority also suspected that the mother had put pressure on another child to retract her claims against the sibling. The three younger children were expressing a desire to return to mother's care. Shortly before the hearing, the mother stated that she believed that the children had been sexually abused by the sibling, that she accepted that she had failed to protect the children, and that the threshold criteria had been established. The eldest of the children alleging abuse attended the hearing, expecting to give oral evidence in some fashion (she had expressed a preference for video link). On the first day of the fact-finding hearing, the judge decided not to proceed on the basis that the hearing was no longer necessary. The mother subsequently expressed doubts as to whether the abuse had taken place. The local authority appealed the decision not to hold the fact-finding hearing.

The appeal was allowed. A judge who was considering whether to proceed with a fact-finding hearing already ordered had to weigh the previous decision that the exercise should be undertaken, and ask whether any circumstances freshly discovered should lead to a departure from the chosen forensic course. The judge should also weigh the costs already incurred in the assembly of the case on all sides and the degree to which a refusal to conduct the hearing at that stage would waste costs. Further the judge should weigh any special features such as, in this case, the fact that a child witness was in court and expecting to give evidence. A sudden decision to abort the hearing in circumstances in which, later, the findings not then made might after all be considered necessary, was to be avoided at all costs. The possibility of criminal proceedings against the sibling should not have helped to dissuade the judge from conducting the fact-finding hearing. It was not preferable, as suggested by the judge, for therapists to reach their own conclusions; professionals needed not just firm ground but the same ground, to operate on. The fact that the court was entitled to conclude that there was power to make a care order without giving any consideration to certain material in no way supported the conclusion that such material did not need to be considered before a decision was reached as to the optimum outcome for the children.

Categories :
  • Archive
  • Judgments
Tags :
Authors
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Related Articles
Load more comments
Comment by from