(Family Division; Sir Mark Potter P; 10 December 2008)
Just before the final hearing of the mother's application for financial provision for the child under Children Act 1989, Schedule 1, the father informed the mother that the Revenue had obtained a freezing order against his assets under the Prevention of Crime Act. The mother sought detailed disclosure of the father's spending under that freezing order from the prosecutor, who refused to supply her with the information. The mother asked the Family Division judge to sit in addition as a Crown Court judge, and to join her to the to Revenue's Crown Court restraint proceedings in order to give her access to the relevant documents.
The court refused to make the order sought. The mother should be making any application in the restraint proceedings to the relevant Crown Court, on proper notice. The content of the criminal investigation was in principle confidential, and the court should not make any order permitting disclosure of a document for use outside the relevant proceedings without having sight of the document to be disclosed. Assuming that the prosecutor had no reason to suspect collusion or any improper reason, it would seem wholly reasonable for the prosecutor to give consent in writing for statements concerning the father's assets filed in the restraint proceedings to be disclosed to the mother for the purpose of her Schedule 1 application, but if the prosecutor was not willing to do so, the proper place to deal with that dispute was the Crown Court actually dealing with the case.