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Children meeting judges, not judges meeting children

Date:16 JAN 2024
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William Seagrim Family law barrister 9 Park Place Chambers

James Lewis Family law barrister 9 Park Place Chambers

In this article the authors consider the law concerning children meeting judges and also children separately instructing solicitors. They address the recent Court of Appeal decision in Re C (Child: Ability to Instruct Solicitor) [2023] EWCA Civ 889. The authors identify the background to Re C and then outline Peter Jackson LJ’s lead judgment including his endorsement of the Family Justice Council’s Guidelines for Judges Meeting Children who are Subject to Family Proceedings 2010. They then discuss the implications of Re C regarding the impermissibility of evidence gathering at such meetings. The authors highlight the law’s resistance to calls to adopt a more inquisitorial approach but identify the difficulty that may arise in practice. The authors develop a submission that permissible judicial benefits from meetings between children and judges remain arguably opaque. Finally they address what to do if significant evidential issues do arise. 

The full article has published in the December issue of here.