H (A Child): Strong words

H (A Child) [2011] EWCA Civ 585, just reported on Family Law Week, concerned proceedings against the mother for the enforcement of a contact order. Specifically, it involved an appeal by the mother against the judge introducing into the proceedings findings about her past conduct, which he had been minded to make at an earlier hearing. The appeal was allowed. However, what I think is most memorable is the language used by Lord Justice Thorpe in the first paragraph of his judgment (my emphasis):
"There is clear evidence that the little girl wants to spend time with her father, and there is clear evidence that on occasions the mother has deliberately frustrated contact between her own daughter and the father. How any mother can sleep easy having behaved in that way I find difficult to understand and I fully sympathise with [the judge's] determination to ensure for this child the pleasure of spending time with her father and to prevent the mother from frustrating the father's persistent applications for the court's support in achieving his legitimate objectives; legitimate for himself and doubly so in that he seeks to ensure that his child is not further deprived."

Whilst I am sure that these words will not satisfy the hard-line doubters, it is good to hear one of our foremost family judges expressing himself in a way with which most ordinary people can empathise.


  1. Probably doesn't mean he's going to do anything about it though. She probbly wasn't fined, costs against her, or ordered to attend parenting classes, or imprisoned, or residency changed, or anything except this. Don't think hot air helps the father or daughter very much or the many others in their circumstances (such as me) where the pwc is not helping contact and the relationship.

  2. It's a bit like David Cameron's professed support for marriage, isn't it? Not likely to translate into anything substantial.


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