LM (A Child) v Medway Council and others: CA 19 Jan 2007

Smith LJ set out the approach when a court considered asking a child to attend at court to give evidence in family proceedings: ‘The correct starting point . . is that it is undesirable that a child should have to give evidence in care proceedings and that particular justification will be required before that course is taken. There will be some cases in which it will be right to make an order. In my view they will be rare . . the judge will have to balance the need for the evidence in the circumstances of the case against what he assesses to be the potential for harm to the child. In assessing the need for oral evidence . . the judge should, in my view, take account of the importance of the evidence to the process of his decision about the child’s future. It may be that the child’s future cannot satisfactorily be determined without that evidence. In assessing the risk of harm or oppression, the judge should take heed of current research into the effect on children of giving evidence and should not rely only upon his impression of the child, although that will of course be relevant.’
Smith LJ
[2007] EWCA Civ 9, [2007] 1 FLR 1698
England and Wales
CitedRegina v B County Council, ex parte P CA 1991
Application was made for judicial review of a decision of the magistrate in proceedings under the Children and Young Persons Act. The issue arose as to whether or not young children should be compelled to give evidence.
Held: The decision of . .
CitedRe P (Witness Summons) CA 1997
. .

Cited by:
CitedIn re W (Children) (Family proceedings: Evidence) (Abuse: Oral Evidence) SC 3-Mar-2010
The court considered the approach to be taken when considering whether to order a child’s attendance at court in care proceedings. It was argued that the starting point of assuming that a child should not attend, failed to respect the human right to . .

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Updated: 01 February 2021; Ref: scu.247932