Posted by Norman Hartnell on 29th March 2018

I recently acted for a mum who told me that she had suffered a miscarriage of justice. Some years previously a decision was made in which the Court did not believe that she had been subject to domestic violence because there was no external evidence (as there often isn’t) of assaults, and her ex at the time was found to be plausible by the Court.

In fact, he had been arrested for causing criminal damage to her car whilst she and the child were in it, but because he pleaded not guilty his criminal trial was postponed until a year or so later. During this time, a number of decisions had been made based on the mum being unreasonably resistant, on the basis that there was no evidence of an abusive relationship.

Before the mum came to see us, one decision after another had been made that put her in a poor light – notwithstanding the fact that when it came to the criminal trial her ex had been convicted of criminal damage and made subject to a Restraining Order to protect her. That fact was largely overlooked in the approach of the Court and the expert.

It seemed to me that there was an obvious injustice here in that the two previous sets of conclusions of the Criminal and Family Court were inconsistent. I asked the Judge to allow the mum to have a hearing to look at matters afresh.

The mum was distraught when the more senior Judge said no but not to be deterred. I helped her appeal against that Order. The High Court Judge hearing the appeal agreed that there needed to be a fresh look at all matters, and that the fact that her ex had been found guilty and convicted (having pleaded not guilty to the criminal charge) was obviously a matter that should be taken into account when looking at the other accusations being made about the abusive relationships.

The case is reported at [2017] EWHC2626.

What the case proves is that if you can show a mistake has been made, the Courts will ultimately listen and justice can be served.

The Family Law society accreditation in Advanced Family lawImage of The Law Society Accreditation of Children Law.
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