The man had originally been granted supervised contact because it was feared that he might abscond and take the children abroad if there was no supervision. The problem arose when he applied to vary the supervision arrangements.

The judge held that the state could not be expected to supervise contact and so the best approach was to arrange for indirect contact. He therefore decided that the father should only be able to contact his children monthly by letter through a PO Box.

The father appealed saying the drastic reduction from supervised to indirect contact was premature and made without the necessary investigation into the practicalities of maintaining alternative supervision.

The Court of Appeal has now found in his favour. It said that before depriving children of direct contact with a parent and thereby
significantly shifting the relationship between them, the judge had to explore every option. He had not done this and so his decision had been premature.

The order for indirect contact was set aside and the general direction for supervised contact was restored. Any issues arising from implementing such contact could be dealt with by the county court at another hearing.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article.

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