Written by Norman Hartnell

Norman is a highly experienced family lawyer and is also the Chair of the OnlyMums & OnlyDads Steering Group. He was a member of the Law Society Children Panel from 1988 to 2008. He is an Accredited Mediator, FMA/Resolution Supervisor/Trainer, Private and Legal Aid qualified mediator for All Issues Mediation including Child Consultation. He is also a collaborative lawyer and family law arbitrator.

I recently acted for a Mum who told me that she had suffered a miscarriage of justice in that some years previously a decision was made in which the Court did not believe that she had been subject to domestic violence because there was no external evidence (as there often isn’t) of assaults and her ex at the time was found to be plausible by the Court.

He had actually been arrested for causing criminal damage to her car whilst she and the child were in it but because he pleaded not guilty his criminal trial was postponed until a year or so later during which time a number of decisions had been made which portrayed the Mum as being unreasonably resistant on the basis that there was no evidence of an abusive relationship.

the Court did not believe that she had been subject to domestic violence because there was no external evidence

Before the Mum came to see us one decision after another had been made which portrayed her in a poor light notwithstanding the fact that when it came to the criminal trial her ex had been convicted of the criminal damage and had been made subject to a Restraining Order to protect her. That was largely overlooked in the approach of the Court and the expert.

It seemed to me that there was an obvious injustice here in that the two previous sets of conclusions of the Criminal and Family Court were inconsistent and I asked the Judge to allow the Mum to have a hearing to look at matters afresh. The Mum was distraught when the more senior Judge said no but not to be deterred I helped the Mum appeal against that Order and the High Court Judge hearing the appeal agreed that there needed to be a fresh look at all matters and that the fact that her ex had been convicted having pleaded not guilty to the criminal charge but was found guilty was obviously a matter which should be taken into account when looking at the other accusations being made about the abusive relationships.

The case is reported at [2017] EWHC2626.

What the case proves is that if you can show that a mistake has been made the Courts will ultimately listen and justice can be served.

    Did you find this useful?

    Thanks for your feedback. :)

    Can you tell me which of the following applies to you:


    Anything else to add?

    Have you been involved in a decision where you think the court has made a clear mistake?

    Norman and his team would strongly recommend that you seek professional advice.....

    Read More >