Re K and H (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 543 – Court of Appeal judgment

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The judgment of the Court of Appeal in the matter of Re K and H (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 543 is the appeal following the first instance decision of the DFJ HHJ Bellamy, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge in January 2015.


The background to the case concerns an unrepresented father applying for a child arrangements order for his two children. The mother is legally aided. Allegations are raised against the father, which require the cross-examination of a child witness. The Court of Appeal agreed that the court would need to determine the allegations raised against the father before the court could determine the father’s child arrangements order application.


However, the Lord Chancellor appealed the first instance judgment, as HHJ Bellamy directed that an advocate should be appointed and paid for by Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (‘HMCTS’) to cross-examine the child, rather than the cross-examination being carried out by the unrepresented father, the judge or clerk of the court.


The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and stated that the Judge did not have the power to make an order for HMCTS to pay for an advocate to carry out the cross-examination. In doing so, the Court of Appeal disagreed with the President of the Family Division’s observations at para 79 of the judgment in Q v Q [2014] EWFC 31.


For further information on the judgment please click here.