The case involved a couple who separated after a difficult relationship. The son lived with the mother and had very little contact with the father. The mother alleged that the father had been violent towards her in the past.
The father then applied for a contact order. A report was drawn up by an officer from CAFCASS, the organisation that protects the interests of children in these
cases. The officer recommended that the father should be allowed supervised
However, as the proceedings developed, a second report by a different CAFCASS officer expressed concerns. The second officer recommended that only indirect contact should be allowed until the father had undergone therapeutic sessions to deal with his issues.
The judge rejected that argument and held that it was in the child’s best interests for supe
rvised contact to begin. The two CAFCASS officers were not present at the hearing when the decision was made.
The Court of Appeal has now overturned the judge’s decision. The court accepted that the judge was in a difficult position because he did not want to delay the start of the contact.
However, he should not have made his decision without hearing from the two CAFCASS officers.
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