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To fact-find, or not to fact-find, that is the question

Date:15 OCT 2023
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William Seagrim Family law barrister 9 Park Place Chambers
Cadi Dewi Family law barrister 9 Park Place Chambers


In this article the authors consider the law concerning whether to conduct fact-finding exercises in public children law cases. They highlight the relevant provisions of the FPR 2010 and outline the seminal decisions of Oxfordshire (sub nom A County Council v DP RS BS (By The Children’s Guardian) [2005] EWHC 1593 (Fam) [2005] 2 FLR 1031) and Re H-D-H and C (Children: Fact-Finding) [2021] EWCA Civ 1192 [2022] 1 FLR 454 clarifying the correct approach to Oxfordshire. The authors identify an additional point of guidance arising from Re H-W (Care Proceedings: Further Fact-finding Hearing) [2023] EWCA Civ 149 [2023] 2 FLR 171. They then explore Mostyn J’s first instance decision in Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council v VW and Others [2022] EWFC 83 [2023] 1 FLR 299 and his re-statement of the Re H-D-H guidance. Mostyn J argued that any one of three purposes cannot be the ‘main purpose’ of fact-finding namely the ‘whole truth’ factor; the ‘different child’ factor; and...

Read the full article here.