Ian Peddie QC, Garden Court Chambers:
In 2010 the Supreme Court removed the presumption against children giving evidence in family proceedings. There has subsequently been Guidance from the Family Justice Council as to when and how children should give oral evidence but few cases where this has happened. This article, by Ian Peddie QC, considers the issues raised by applications to adduce the evidence of young children. He examines one case, in which he was instructed, where a girl of 5 years gave evidence in respect of sexual abuse allegations, which she had made against her 12-year-old stepbrother. There is useful guidance as to how to approach the preliminary task of making the application and the cross-examination of very young children.
The full version of this article appears in the April 2014 issue of Family Law.