A 13 year legal battle between two parents has been labelled the “longest dispute of its kind”.
Sitting at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Moylan heard the father’s application to see his daughter.
The parents began a relationship in 1991. After separating in 1996 they reconciled in 1997. In 1999, their daughter was born. In 2001, the parents separated again.
Following the permanent end of their relationship, the 13 year court battle began.
For the majority of her life, the daughter lived with her mother despite the mother’s reported health problems and paranoid personality disorder.
In the years following the separation, communication between the father and daughter broke down. The father held the mother responsible and went to the courts seeking an order for direct contact.
The daughter was only 18 months old when the process began. Now she is 14 and a half.
According to Mr Justice Moylan, the daughter had expressed no wish for direct contact with her father so he ruled against this, saying the father could only have ‘indirect’ contact, including letters and emails.
The father was convinced the daughter’s decision had been influenced by the mother, despite assurances from the daughter’s court appointed guardian that was not the case.
He also claimed indirect contact was not sufficient for him to rebuild a relationship with his daughter. He said the case was an example of “what happens when the system fails you”.
The case has reportedly cost £1 million since it began.