UK – FYI Disclosure of court documents when making a complaint.


N (A Child) [2009] EWHC 1663 (Fam)

Application to allow disclosure of documents arising out of private children law proceedings to enable the applicant to make a complaint to the GMC about an expert witness in the proceedings. No order was made on the application.

The proceedings were highly contested residence and Schedule 1 proceedings between an unmarried couple. The applicant father, representing himself with the benefit of a litigation friend, claimed, among other things, that the expert witness did not have enough information to find that the mother had a borderline personality disorder, that he had been biased and that he had disregarded evidence. In this application, the mother accepted that the father should be able to disclose the report on himself but that there should be no further disclosure.

In this judgment Munby J points out that

“Had this application come before the court (say) five years ago, there would have been no difficulty in identifying the approach to be adopted in determining how it should be decided. The effect of section 12(1)(a) of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 and rule 4.23 of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 would have been to prohibit disclosure of any of the material absent an order of the court permitting disclosure”

However the new rules under FPR Part XI have changed the issue of disclosure, so he reviews the new rules and any relevant authorities. He concludes that the father is, under rule 11.4 which allows disclosure for the purposes of making a complaint, entitled to disclose the reports without prior sanction of the court and the case to exercise his discretion to prevent such disclosure under rule 11.2 has not been made out. He therefore makes no order on the application.

Neutral Citation Number: [2009] EWHC 1663 (Fam)
Case No: FD03P02333
(In Private)

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 8 July 2009

Kind Regards
Greg Downing
+44 (0) 7733 313200

“It is a rare breed of human who can blend a free spirit, a decisive nature, a deep respect for life, love for adventure, and an uncompromising sense of integrity into human happiness and being. Such individuals hear the heartbeat of wholeness.”

“Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding” Convention on the Rights of the Child

A child who is separated from one or both parents is entitled to “maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests” (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, Article 9)



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