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07 SEP 2007

RESIDENCE: Re M (Residence Order)

(Court of Appeal; Keene, Thomas and Wall LJJ; 24 August 2007)

In proceedings concerning the residence of four children, the recorder made an interim order that the three younger children were to reside with the father, while the eldest child was to live with mother. The mother had an addiction to amphetamines. At the full hearing there was a body of expert evidence strongly suggesting that all four children should reside with the father, and that the mother had been using drugs prior to the hearing. The mother gave evidence that she was no longer using drugs. The recorder preferred the mother's evidence, and ordered that all four children were to live with the mother.

The recorder had given disproportionate weight to the mother's evidence and had failed to explain why she was departing from the clear expert evidence. The case was to be remitted to a different judge.

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