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14 DEC 2005

FAMILY PROCEEDINGS: Re F (Family Proceedings: Section 37 Investigation) [2005] EWHC 2935

(Family Division; Sumner J; 14 December 2005) [2006] 1 FLR 1122

The mother's contact with the two children, aged 9 and 7, had ceased because of their expressed hostility towards the mother. The father supported the children in their stance, maintaining that the children were old enough to make this decision for themselves without any further intervention.

The father's attitude towards the mother, his refusal to let the children be seen, his complete subjugation to their expressed views, and their reaction and attitude to their mother in which he was complicit, all caused the children emotional harm, likely to be significant. The removal of the children from the father under a s 37 order, even temporarily, would cause the children enormous upset and must be avoided if at all possible. However, a s 37 report was justified unless the father would permit a child psychiatrist to see the children, assess their views and consider the other relevant issues.

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