The court was concerned with 4 appeals from orders made in private law Children Act 1989 proceedings each of which involved allegations of domestic abuse. As well as deciding each of the appeals upon well-established legal principles, the court took the opportunity to give some guidance about a number of matters which commonly arise in the Family Court in such cases.
Mother’s appeal against an order for direct contact in the absence of a risk assessment when findings had been made of domestic violence. Appeal allowed, a risk assessment directed and remitted back for further consideration.
Moor J who heard the appeal criticised the judge for not having applied PD 12J or the relevant case law on contact when findings have been made of domestic violence. However, of equal significance in this case was the requirement in s.16A Children Act 1989 which requires a CAFCASS Officer to undertake a risk assessment for the benefit of the court if, carrying out his/her functions, the Officer suspects the child is at risk of harm. Cafcass recommended such a risk assessment however the judge refused the mother’s application for that assessment.
Mother’s application to vary a Prohibited Steps Order – preventing either parent from removing the children – granted, allowing her to remove the parties’ children to Iran, a non-Hague Convention country, temporarily for the purpose of holidays, subject to certain safeguards being in place
Application for a Parental Order where the applicants had separated, where the application was made outside the statutory 6-month timescale and where there was an issue as to the proportionality of the payments made to the surrogate. Application granted
Application by the mother at the PTR to strike out the father’s application for the return of two children to Spain and, in the alternative, for permission to instruct a psychologist to assess the mother’s fear of the father. Both applications were refused by Baker J
Appeal by a mother against an order that her daughter be returned to Lithuania. Appeal dismissed.
High Court declarations of parentage made in respect of father whose child was conceived using donated sperm, in circumstances where he had signed a consent form, which the fertility clinic had lost.