Re A (a child)


[2015] EWCA Civ 910

Where a party applied to withdraw an application for contact, as the father had when B was four years old, and the withdrawal would have an impact on the child’s welfare, the court had a duty to determine whether proceedings should continue despite the parties’ opinions, F (Children) (Contact Orders: Domestic Violence) [2005] EWCA Civ 499, [2005] 2 F.L.R. 950 applied. With hindsight the court could see the unfortunate consequences of the father’s decision at that time, but his reasons had been based entirely on B’s welfare. Normally it would be in a child’s best interests to have a full relationship with each of his or her parents. All the evidence about the relationship between B and his father when there had been regular contact was entirely positive: of a warm and loving relationship. There were no adverse findings against the father. W (Children) (Direct Contact), [2012] EWCA Civ 999, [2013] 1 F.L.R. 494 explained the right approach in such cases, and Re W applied. The problem in the instant case was an adult problem; not B’s. The judge had been entitled to decide that restarting contact after several years would not work. Nevertheless, the outcome was a tragedy for the father and even more so for B. Some family situations were not amenable to the blunt instrument of a judge making an order; this was such a case.


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