Threshold was considered at para  of the judgment and the findings at para, which included the children suffering or at risk of suffering significant physical, emotional, educational and developmental harm by way of the changes in their schooling, inconsistent engagement from both parents, the mother’s inability to challenge the father and put the children first, and the father’s extreme beliefs and potential for him to remove the children.
In addition to giving the background of the case and considering the threshold the judge also addressed other issues including that there was no record in the papers of how the judge at first instance dealt with the application and that the order which had been approved had been inaccurate in a number of ways. Furthermore some information placed before the court was inexact or exaggerated to an unacceptable level.
Ultimately the proceedings concluded with care orders being made in favour of the mother and maternal grandmother, subject to restrictions on the children’s’ contact with the father.
Lack of legal jargon
The judgment has been warmly received for its 'plain' Engliash and the clear way in which it tackles threshold issues and a complicated family history without legal jargon. For example, when explaining the complicated relationship between the mother and father the judgment says, ‘She never gets into arguments with people, but he does all the time’ and that the father ‘can be fun with the children, and he can be polite and witty, but he can also be a loudmouth whose favourite subject is his own rights’. The judgment even uses a smiley face emoji to describe a drawing made by the mother. There is no doubt it is a much simpler read than most other public law decisions. Should this be the way forward for the future? Given the continued drive towards transparency and the increased publication of judgments it may make it easier for people to digest the outcome of family court proceedings. Additionally a child centred judgment perfectly supports the ongoing campaign regarding the importance of the voice of the child and how crucial it is for them to be involved in and understand decisions effecting their lives.Family judgments are appearing more frequently in the headlines. The recent case of Al-Jeffery v Al-Jeffery (Vulnerable Adult: British Citizen)  EWHC 2151 (Fam) caused sensational reporting about a ‘woman in a cage’. Such was the extent of the coverage that Mr Justice Holman dedicated a specific section of his judgment to addressing the manner in which Amina’s liberty had been restricted, concluding that her freedom of movement was severely constrained, and could be described as ‘caged’, although not ‘in a cage’. Even the President’s latest view was used (and skewed) in tabloid headlines prompting a swift response from Resolution due to the concern about the impact the ‘selective reporting’ would have on readers of the article.
Maybe this style of judgment is a firm step towards the answer we have been looking for to ensure there is less room for misconception and confusion.
On the other side of the coin of course, given the pressures and constraints on the judiciary is there capacity to expect each judgment to marry the clear language with the legal principles in such a way as to avoid even mentioning the Children Act 1989 altogether? Would this be a practical expectation of all judgments, even those considering the most complex of matters and would such a judgment stand up to scrutiny in the event of an appeal? It will be interesting to see whether other judgments follow suit or whether this remains a unique piece of mastery from Mr Justice Peter Jackson.
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