Articles about solicitors and legal services

Father wins appeal to have contact case heard by a different judge

A father who claimed a judge in contact proceedings was biased against him has won his appeal to have the case heard again by a different judge.

The father had applied for contact with his son. The boy’s mother opposed the application because she said the father had subjected her to domestic violence. A fact-finding hearing was held to examine the allegations.

The judge accepted the mother’s allegations and said they were so serious that the father’s application for contact was almost bound to fail. The father then asked that the judge should step down from hearing the case because he had shown bias against him.

He said that the judge had effectively decided the issue of contact before the full hearing had even begun. He asked that the fact-finding hearing be heard by a different judge who could then go on to determine the issue of contact.

The judge refused so the father took the case to the Court of Appeal. It has now ruled that although the judge had not shown any bias, he had been wrong in making what appeared to be a decision on the issue of contact without having heard any detailed evidence or argument. The Appeal Court held that the judge’s findings about the domestic violence should stand, but the issue of contact should be determined by a different judge.

Please contact us if you would like more information about this or any aspect of family law.

If you wish to make an appointment, or ask us a question please contact us.