Court of Appeal overturns ‘no contact’ order against father

Children|Divorce|Family|Family Law|News|September 26th 2013

Wooden toysThe Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of a father who had been denied contact with his children following accusations of domestic violence.

The recent case of Re M concerned a couple with three children, aged seven, five and three years of age. According to case reports, the mother was the victim of domestic violence over a lengthy period and eventually left the home, moving into a women’s refuge with the children.

The couple’s two oldest children had witnessed the violence and also experienced “over chastisement”. A psychiatrist involved with the case said the father showed signs of personality disorders.

The mother, meanwhile, said she feared the father might attempt to abduct the children abroad or commit ‘honour’ violence.

He applied for contact with the children but was refused after the original judge ruled the mother’s fears were sound. The father lodged an appeal.

When the case reached the Court of Appeal, Lord Justices Longmore and Underhill, along with Lady Justice Macur, concluded the legal order prohibiting contact with the father was too draconian. It had not properly considered where there were any reasonable alternative approaches to the situation, reflecting the children’s right to respect for their family life by allowing them contact with their father.

The original judge had been concerned with establishing a stable and viable home for the children with their mother and the prohibition on contact with their father had not been a proportionate response to this, the Appeal Court judges concluded.

The order was set aside and the case sent back for a fuller investigation into any ways in which supervised contact between the father and three children might be possible or appropriate.

Photo by Eleni via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(15)

  1. JamesB says:

    The standard response was the first one. Good for him for taking a deep breath and saying “Hang on a minute”.

  2. JamesB says:

    So, proved on the balance of probability, ‘The couple’s two oldest children had witnessed the violence and also experienced “over chastisement”. A psychiatrist involved with the case said the father showed signs of personality disorders.’

    Basically this amounts to nothing specific really, but if she don’t like him then he don’t get to see the kids. Which is fair enough – providing no maintenance is expected from him, else, not, and vice versa applies.

  3. Bill says:

    Moving into a refuge is the oldest trick in the book. Lawyers need to get more original with the advice they give.

  4. JamesB says:

    You could accuse and win against 99% of fathers being guilty on the balance of probabilities of that rubbish nonsense! Would be funny if it wasn’t so sick.

  5. steve says:

    Over imaginative lawyers are no doubt involved

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Steve
      Imagination combined with a sound knowledge of the law is actually what you want. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a plank of wood in any profession!
      Regards
      Marilyn

  6. JamesB says:

    Thing is if you just say “that is bollocks!” – which it is in court, the judge just doesn’t listen. I mean how do you disprove prove something without evidence on either side and without a QC / law degree – a rhetorical question which shows how silly these places can become if you don’t have money.

  7. JamesB says:

    So, does a plank of wood dream of being part of an Ark or something perhaps – good imagination without practicality.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear James
      Nope! But there is nothing worse than being told there’s a dead end when with a bit of thought there may be another way. That’s how law develops. It’s being able to think it through. The client is paying for a brain.
      Regards
      Marilyn

  8. JamesB says:

    Dear Marilyn,

    I can see why lawyers have or should have lawyers upon divorce. Sometimes, when faced with such arguments it is easy to make exclamations like my last one.

    Just sometimes I think it can be a bit of a waste of time and wonder what the point is – I mean being faced with being called names for trying to do what’s best for your children when there is no grounds for it is bad and lawyers and littigants (usually women) should be actively pursuaded (nice way of saying punished) to stop them doing it.

  9. JamesB says:

    Personally I would rather stand up and walk out – as I did. Hense where I see the problem (for my children) as a fault in the process.

  10. JamesB says:

    Not just my children but many people involved in this and the parliamentary ombudsman backed my complaint against cafcass and courts on this point. Not that it changed anything or helped at all as judges are completely like loose unaccountable cannons.

  11. Tom says:

    I am a father who was falsely accused of domestic violence. I was also accused of beating my daughter. None of this was true. The CAS investigated and threw out the case. My daughter admitted she was not beaten, and expressed a strong desire to spend more time with me. She was 4 at the time. The CAS wrote a letter supportive of my parenting. This was 2002. I was able to get generous access. It could easily have gone the other way. I was very lucky that an experienced and savvy CAS agent got out case. This kind of thing happens out there. Keep an open mind when you read cases like this.

  12. J says:

    I won a six year court battle only to be stitched up 3 week into it for sex abuse of my step daughter,
    Proven by police to be lies made by both mum and her daughter 2 years later back in court for enforcement only to find cafcass covering up emotional abuse of my child,
    To cover up the false allegation so the child is protected and the case is kept secret,
    This was written for my brother as he is blind

  13. S says:

    Hi my ex went women refugee centre told the police I been hit her 5 times we have 3 kids age 4 3 2 they took her away don’t know her whereabouts just I applied for contact to see children what will happens guys please share your experience I met the kids after 6 weeks of break up I started talk via email she said I bring themotion kids in a private place
    she brought twice then stopped and text me don’t call don’t email I had apply for court fir contact any advice how likely I get contact?

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