(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Hallett, McFarlane LJJ, 21 September 2012)
The 10-year-old child had staying contact with her father twice a year in Australia where he lived. When a young girl made allegations of sexual abuse against the father the mother was advised by the local authority not to allow contact as the allegations were being treated as credible.
The young girl wished her identity to remain anonymous and suffered from mental and physical ill health. The mother applied to vary contact arrangements to shorter and supervised periods and during those proceedings the question of disclosure arose. Due to the likely severe impact on the young girl's well-being the balance fell against ordering disclosure.
The children's guardian appealed. The judge had failed to consider the competing ECHR interests and treated the young girl's ability to give evidence as an overriding consideration. The balance fell in favour of disclosing the identity of the young girl and the records as to the substance of the allegations to the mother, father and children's guardian