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The renowned Care Team of Ramsdens Solicitors were involved in two important cases both heard in the Court of Appeal on the same day.

In proceedings involving children, finding of fact hearings are used to determine allegations in dispute between the parties, in order to assist the Court and professionals involved in making welfare decisions for children. At a fact-finding hearing, a Judge will listen to all evidence and then make findings as to whether an allegation did, or did not happen, on the balance of probabilities.

The recent cases heard in the Court of Appeal established that the longstanding guidance on when it is appropriate for the Family Court to hold a fact-finding hearing remains applicable. Both cases were care proceedings, where the Judges had made case management decisions not to hold fact-finding hearings where there were serious allegations relating to the children.

Lord Justice Peter Jackson said the appeals provided an opportunity for the court to review the longstanding guidance in light of the current pressures on the Family Court, with particular consequences for the length and cost of the proceedings, the impact of litigation on all parties and the allocation of Court time.

The judgment upheld the existing guidance on when to hold fact-finding hearings and went on to say the factors should be approached flexibly in light of the overriding objective in order to do justice in the case, and that question could be identified as being whether, on the individual facts of each case, it was “right and necessary” to conduct a fact-finding exercise.

Joanne Coen, Head of the Care Department said; “Having any case considered by the Court of Appeal is momentous and having two separate cases heard on the same day is exceptional and is testament to the work of the Care Team covering a challenging area of law and working with clients who are often vulnerable and in need of support”.

Joanne Coen further added; “Kate McNally and Jill McCurdy, Partners and senior members of the team were the instructing solicitors in these cases who always provide remarkable preparation and support”.

You can read the full summary here.


Call our Child Care Helpline on 01924 431 774 or email to book a free information session with our expert solicitors at any of our offices.