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Appeal family court decision?

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  • Appeal family court decision?

    Can you appeal a family court decision that was made at a dispute resolution hearing especially if had huge consequences for the children involved & the case?

    (Child arrangement order for contact no order made, relied on a seriously inadequate s7 report without looking at our evidence. Gave no time to allow us to speak, no order principle used but huge consequences for chikdren)
    thank you in advance
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Peridot do you know this one?


    • #3
      Hi Lola49,

      I'm sorry to hear things didn't go the way you would have hoped. I have been checking up on a few cases and found this one that may help try to explain the Courts decision. Please don't think I am suggesting that you and your daughter are 'hostile' to each other. This is a synopsis of the decision and why it was made.

      In Re W (
      Re W (Contact: Application by
      ) 1997 1FLR 793)
      the mother and maternal grandmother of a child were not on good terms with each other. The grandmother used to have extensive contact with the child when the child was living with his father, but following a change of residence by the child to live with his mother, contact between the child and grandmother was stopped by the mother. The grandmother successfully applied for leave to apply for a contact order, but following a full hearing contact was refused because the court found that the child was at risk of suffering emotional harm as a result of the hostility between the mother and the grandmother. The court considered that the child should be allowed to settle in with his mother. In dismissing the grandmothers appeal the court held that the court at first instance was right to treat the child's stability in settling in with his mother as first and foremost in the child's interests. All the court had decided was that there should be no direct contact for the time being. The granting of leave to make an application for contact did not place a grandparent (nor any other relative or person) in the same position as a natural parent. An application for leave would almost always be made on the papers and without the benefit of a welfare officer's report. Upon the substantive application, the court had to apply ChA 1989, s 1 together with the 'welfare checklist' in ChA 1989, s 1(3). Save in the case of a natural parent, anyone applying for contact must show grounds for it. Once a case for contact has been established, a respondent has to show why there should not be contact. However, there was not a presumption that a grandparent who had been granted leave was entitled to contact unless it could be shown by cogent reasons that there should be no contact.

      The judge in Re W also commented that it 'would be nonsense in the long term for a child to be denied contact with his grandmother because of bitterness between the mother and the grandmother. Grandparents play an important role in children's lives, especially young children, and their influence is extremely beneficial, provided it is exercised with care and not too frequently'. He also noted that the mothers refusal to allow the children to receive birthday cards from the grandmother because of strong negative feelings about the grandmother's behaviour was not in the children's best interests. The grandmother was a family member and the stopping of cards and possibly presents on appropriate occasions was not justified. There should be some indirect contact if it could be arranged. Hollis J said that the grandmother would be advised to send cards and presents on appropriate occasions and the mother would be expected to hand them over to the child.

      I do know there has been a history of issues between you from your previous posts and hence you quite rightly have tried to set down contact for you to see the grandchildren. Unfortunately the Court would appear to have decided that at this time it is not best for the children. Please don't give up hope. Do try and keep the lines of communication open and send cards. Always try and be light and breezy and don't dig too much for information about what is going on with their mum/her partner etc.

      In time your relationship will improve and you'll be needed again. I can appreciate how difficult this is for you but unfortunately I suspect that you have to be the bigger people while mum sorts herself and builds her relationship with the children too. Then she'll realise you aren't the enemy and that you can in fact help with childcare etc in the future. All you can do for the time being I suspect is be available without putting pressure on the regular contact issue.

      Maybe suggest to your daughter that you send the children monthly/weekly cards/notes see how that is taken. Sorry I can't provide some magic case that could save the day, but you can no doubt understand why the parental relationship with the children does need to be nurtured in the first instance and at least to give mum a chance.
      I am a qualified solicitor and am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

      Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

      If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.


      • #4
        thank you for your kind post, it has been very helpful, it is such a heartbreaking situation. We have written to our MP to raise awareness that there are many grandparents in our position and that they are not always sympathetic or supportive of grandparents seeing their grandchildren.
        I think that the court took the view that the court situation was stressful for my daughter and that this would impact on her parenting, Unfortunately since the recent crisis she has been making all sorts of allegations against us, and the social worker involved seemed to believe her, despite there being no evidence at all to back her up. Its just a very sad situation, but you are right there is always hope.


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