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Father wins appeal over contact with his children

A father has won an appeal against a court order that rejected the recommendations of childcare experts and reduced his contact with his children.

The local authority and child welfare officers recommended that the father should be allowed contact once every three weeks. This should begin immediately with his two younger children and then three months later with his two older children, as long as no concerns were raised by social workers.

The judge rejected the recommendations and ordered that the father should have supervised contact 10 times a year.

The father appealed on the grounds that the judge had ignored the recommendations of the experts without explaining why. The mother submitted that the judge had been presiding over a difficult case and had expressed highly critical findings relating to the father in an earlier judgment. These findings influenced the decision to restrict contact to 10 times a year.

The Court of Appeal found in favour of the father. It held that the judge had not fulfilled her duty to explain in clear language why she was rejecting the recommendations of the experts. The orders were varied to follow those recommendations.

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