Father wins appeal over contact with his children
A father has won his appeal against a judge’s decision limiting the amount of time he was allowed to spend with his four children.
The father wanted to have as much contact as possible with the children following the breakdown of his relationship with the mother.
Local authority experts recommended that he should be allowed supervised contact every three weeks. This was to begin immediately with the two younger children, and then after three months with the two older children, providing that no concerns were expressed by social workers.
However, the judge decided that supervised contact should be limited to 10 times a year.
The father appealed on the grounds that the judge had departed from the advice and recommendations of the experts without explaining why.
The mother submitted that the judge was presiding over a difficult case and had expressed highly critical findings on the father in an earlier judgment. The judge’s latest ruling was implicitly based on those earlier findings.
The Court of Appeal found in favour of the father. It held that the judge had not fulfilled her duty to explain in clear language why she was rejecting the evidence of the local authority experts. The court order was therefore changed so that the expert recommendations were implemented instead.