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04 NOV 2014

Re A and B (Children) [2013] EWHC 2305 (Fam)

Re A and B (Children) [2013] EWHC 2305 (Fam)
(Family Division, Cobb J, 31 July 2013)

[The judicially approved judgment and accompanying headnote has now published in Family Law Reports [2015] 2 FLR 883]

Contact – Enforcement – Parents of two children in same-sex relationships – Women not complying with contact order – Whether the children were suffering emotional harm – Whether the contact order should be enforced or varied/discharged

The full judgment is attached below

The proceedings relating to enforcement or variation of contact arrangements were adjourned for an expert psychological assessment of the two children to be carried out to assess whether the children were suffering emotional harm.

The biological parents of the two children, aged 12 and 8, were both in same-sex relationships. The children lived with the women and an order was in place providing for contact with the men ( MA v RS [2012] FLR 1056; Re P and L (Contact) [2012] 1 FLR 1068).

The men applied for the committal of the women for 13 breaches of the contact order and enforcement of the order and/or residence orders. The women sought a variation or discharge of the contact order.

The judge found that the issues of contact and enforcement could not be looked at in a vacuum. The contextual picture and the history were important. There was evidence of outward signs of emotional harm from the children and the mother had mental health issues.

There were reasonable grounds for believing that the children were suffering significant harm to the extent that local authority intervention might well be required. In order to reach a welfare-based conclusion the court required further expert evidence on the psychological effects on the children of the options available. An urgent assessment of the general well-being of the children was ordered in order to advise the court on whether the children were currently suffering emotional harm, and if so, in what ways they were being harmed. In addition the report would assess whether that harm was significant, and the causes of any emotional harm and the implications for the children of removal from the care of the women to the care of the men or foster care.

The applications for committal and enforcement were dismissed.

The fully referenced, judicially approved judgment and headnote will appear in a forthcoming issue of Family Law Reports. A detailed summary and analysis of the case will appear in Family Law.

Neutral Citation Number: [2013] EWHC 2305 (Fam)

Case No: FD08P01237


Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 31/07/2013

Before :

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Between :


- and –

M1 and M2
1st & 2nd Respondents


A and B
(by their Guardian)
3rd & 4th Respondents

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Robin Tolson QC (instructed directly under the Bar Council Public Access Rules) for the Applicants
Paul Storey QC (instructed by Baxter Harries) for the First and Second Respondents
Maggie Jones (instructed by Bindmans) for the Third and Fourth Respondents (children)

Hearing dates: 8-12, and 31 July 2013

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


This judgment was handed down in private on 31 July 2013, and published in a redacted form (removing identifying features of the family) on 24 October 2014 together with
[2013] EWHC 4150 (Fam)
[2014] EWHC 818 (Fam) .

The judgment is being distributed on the strict understanding that in any report no person other than the advocates or the solicitors instructing them (and other persons identified by name in the judgment itself) may be identified by name or location and that in particular the anonymity of the children and the adult members of their family must be strictly preserved.

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