fbpx

CAFCASS Officers and the Court Hearing Their Evidence

Family and Children

In the case of Re S (A Child: Contact Order), The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal from a mother who claimed she had been denied a fair hearing.

The mother and father had a three year old daughter.  At an earlier hearing the judge had agreed that the father had demonstrated violent behaviour towards the mother and ordered a report to be prepared by a CAFCASS officer.  The officer recommended that the father be allowed professionally supervised contact with the child.  Five months later a new CAFCASS officer submitted a report recommending that direct contact should not be allowed.  The mother argued that the proceedings should hear oral evidence from both officers, and until that happened, supervised contact should not go ahead.  The judge ruled that this would create further delay and confirmed the interim contact order without hearing evidence from either officer.

The mother appealed claiming that she should have been given the opportunity to cross examine the officers and that she had been denied a fair hearing.

The appeal was upheld.  It was ruled that the wrong welfare decision had been made.  As there had been two conflicting professional opinions it would have been appropriate to hear from them both to help determine the matter.

The matter would be relisted for determination before a new judge.

If you would like advice regarding children matters please contact our Family Law Department for a free initial interview on Eastbourne 01323 727321 or Hailsham 01323 841481.

Nicholas Dennis
Nicholas Dennis
Alexandra Funnell
Alexandra Funnell
Guy Brown
Guy Brown
Carolyn Richards
Carolyn Richards