The Father v The Mother, O by Cafcass Legal; In re O (a Child) (Contact: Withdrawal of application): FD 12 Dec 2003

The father sought to withdraw his application for contact, but the court took the opportunity to explain some points relating to contact disputes.
Held: Such disputes engender very deep feelings. Courts must ensure contact with both parents save when absolutely necessary. Joint residence order should be more widespread, but they were not the default order. The court’s consent was required to withdraw such an application. It is not the courts who decide to hear children cases in private, but a matter for statute. Publicity would be very damaging for the child. The father had failed to understand the part his own behaviour played in the continuation and aggravation of the child’s problems. Parental alienation cases did exist, but this was not one.


Mr Justice Wall


[2003] EWHC 3031 (Fam), Times 13-Jan-2004




Family Proceedings Rules 1991 4.5(1), Children Act 1989 97(2)


England and Wales


CitedP v BW (Children Cases: Hearings in Public) FD 2003
The applicant sought a joint residence order, and for a declaration that the rules preventing such hearings being in public breached the requirement for a public hearing.
Held: Both FPR 1991 rule 4.16(7) and section 97 are compatible with the . .
CitedRe M (Intractable Contact Dispute: Interim Care Orders) FD 2003
The mother had persuaded her children of the lie that their father had physically and sexually abused them, and that their paternal grandparents were also a danger to them. She would not allow any contact with them, and disobeyed court orders for . .
CitedIn Re L (A Child) (Contact: Domestic Violence); In Re V (A Child) (Contact: Domestic Violence); In Re M (A Child) (Contact: Domestic Violence); In Re H (A Child) (Contact: Domestic Violence); In re L, V, M and H (Children) CA 21-Jun-2000
When considering contact applications after domestic violence, the approach should be child centred, and according to the criteria in the Act. The circumstances of the violence should be looked into, and the potentially damaging effect of contact . .

Cited by:

CitedF v M FD 1-Apr-2004
The court considered the ‘ongoing debate’ about the court’s role in contact disputes. ‘this case illustrates all too uncomfortably the failings of the system. There is much wrong with our system and the time has come for us to recognise that fact . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 03 August 2022; Ref: scu.188850