Children in Court

02 JAN 2007

Lynn Davis Solicitor, Consultant to Davis Simmonds and Donaghey, Kent. District Judge Crichton's article Listening to Children" [2006] Fam Law 849 raises the important issue of the role in proceedings of the very child whose welfare is in issue. At present, there is no consistency of practice, judges varying widely from those who, like District Judge Crichton, are willing to see and talk to children, to those who will not even countenance the idea. The author says such an important issue should not be left to ad hoc decisions, and it should be seen as part of the wider picture. It is time to decide where the child fits in care proceedings. The child is, of course, automatically a party to care proceedings. But what does party status mean? Normally, being a party brings with it a right to see all the information before the court, to put forward evidence, to be represented and to attend court, with the right or even presumption of giving oral evidence and being cross-examined. But the author says it seems that some parties are more equal than others. See January [2006] Fam Law for the full article.

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