C-DAY – 17: INTERMEDIARIES FOR A VULNERABLE MOTHER; AND A TEMPLATE JUDGMENT

Composite threshold document

My fellow family law blogger, @suesspiciousminds, wrote about OCC v B & T and the judgment of HHJ Owens at http://suesspiciousminds.com/2015/06/20/composite-threshold-a-living-example/. OCC is a care case (for the Family Court judgement see at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2015/B73.html  ); and is particularly helpful as an example of a template judgment (introduction; facts; consideration of deaf awareness; consideration of the welfare check-list ‘headings’ (Children Act 1989 s 1(3)) and of other law applied to the facts; and the judge’s decision).

To make the judgment more helpful still, says @suesspiciousminds

… the judge includes a suitably anonymised version of the threshold [ie Children Act 1989 s 31(2)] at the end of the judgment. I commend that, I think it makes far more sense when considering what decisions was made by a court to see the factual background set out.  I really like it. The version provided is a composite document, set out in tabular form (and again, I like the way that this is produced, it is really helpful in terms of seeing what the allegation is, where the evidence is for it and what the parents say).

The case concerned a mother who is deaf. It sets out a little of her particular needs as a mother; and how those needs were dealt with in court.

Existing reported cases and the draft amendment rules

It will be instructive, over the period of the ‘vulnerable’ individuals consultation, to consider a few reported cases – such as OCC; Re A (Sexual Abuse: Disclosure) [2012] UKSC 60, [2013] 1 FLR 948; Re M (A Child) [2015] EWFC 71 (04 August 2015), Sir James Munby P – and to look at how they were dealt with under case management law on vulnerable witnesses at the time of the judgment. The progress of a hearing, so far as it can be deduced from the judgment, can then be reviewed in the light of the draft regulations – Family Procedure Rules 2010 ‘Part 3A’ – if they are adopted into FPR 2010 by Family Procedure Rules Committee.

Further thoughts will follow…

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