Sarah Phillimore, St John's Chambers
This article considers by examination of recent case law, how the increased use of remote hearings in the time of the COVID 19 pandemic have highlighted an interesting judicial divergence about the importance of direct observation in the court room, to assess witness credibility. Although the majority of cases will provide the Judge with much more than the reaction of witnesses as a basis to make findings of fact, for those cases where contemporaneous documentary evidence is sparse, or non existent, the focus is more firmly on how the witness presents in court. A wider question therefore also emerges – are judges able to keep ‘credibility’ and ‘demeanour’ separate and just how do they assess either?
The full article will be published in the August issue of Family Law.