Family and Children
In the case of Re J (a child) (contact order: assessment of parent following spousal abuse) , The Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that a father should not be allowed contact with his son.
This case concerned a mother and father who married and had a son (J). After separating the mother claimed she had been the victim of physical and emotional abuse. The father applied for contact with J.
During proceedings the judge made a number of adverse findings against the father. When the father was invited to file a response he failed to acknowledge a number of the specific findings against him and had offered implausible explanations to some of the most serious aspects to the case. The father was also found to have made a serious threat to abduct J. The judge therefore ruled that there should be no contact.
The father appealed submitting that the judge had acted as sole arbitrator and should have sanctioned an assessment by a child care professional.
The appeal was dismissed. The judge was capable of making a fair and impartial assessment. He had considered any future assessment to be futile due to the father’s inability to face up to the findings made against him. The judge had given clear findings in his initial judgement.