Leeds: 0113 245 5866
London:
0207 1270565

Meet the Clerks

Meet the clerks Read on

Queens Counsel on Family and Crime

The only Queens Counsel in the last 5 years appointed on merit in both Family and Crime.

 

FLBA Seminar 2011 - Simon Bickler QC

Having practised predominantly in criminal law for 15 years it always struck me that the Family Courts adopted a completely different approach when embarking upon a forensic investigation into allegations of harm caused to a child.

In the Crown Court the child’s evidence would almost always be tested. The overriding objective is to strike a balance between the complainant, the accused, witnesses etc. Rules of evidence strictly govern the forensic enquiry.

In the family court the " Paramountcy Principle" applies. Thus the interest of one party, the child, is promoted above an overriding objective of achieving justice. This seismic jurisprudential shift has led to a number of potentially unintended consequences.

Children are rarely challenged. Decisions affecting the future of a complainant child and siblings are usually made without the accused parent being able to test the allegations. A loose approach to admissibility of evidence has further diluted the rigour of the forensic enquiry.

This lecture looks at how case law has recently started to recognise that making decisions, ostensibly in the child’s best interests, may not produce the desired result. Further that the Human Rights Act has forced the Family Courts to reconsider it’s approach.

This lecture sets out recent case law in both public and private law and seeks to draw a common theme examining how to challenge the accepted norm from a different perspective.

 

All rights reserved. Design & Development by ATB Creative