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Family Court- Appealing to the High Court, help urgently needed(10 Posts)
I don't get legal aid and can't afford any more legal fees. I need to appeal against a residence order that reversed my child's residency. I am outside the 14 days, but within the year. I'm hoping someone can tell me where to get more info from re doing the legal work myself. Know its not ideal but its all I got. I know about rights of women phone line but can't ever get through. Also LSC but am ineligible. Any lawyers or barristers out there? Or any bright spark who's done similar themselves or got Cafcass or expert reports thrown out?
Well, first of all you have to think about your grounds for appeal. You need to show that either the Court did not have all relevant information, AND that if it did have that info, that the decision would have been different, OR that the decision of the judge was "plainly wrong", ie that he or she did not apply the law correctly.
Simply not agreeing with the Judge is not enough to successfully appeal.
If you do think you have strong grounds, then you need to make an application for leave to apply out of time. You can probably find a precedent by googling "appeal out of time, Children Act".
There'll be a fee payable, but if you're on a low income you can file an EX-something (you can down load it from the Court website. It's an application to be exempt from paying the fees.
If you'd like to post a bit more info I can tell you what your chances are, but you have to be absolutely honest about what Cafcass recommended and on what basis. If you are unsure about why judgement went against you, you can either ask the court for a transcript (which costs quite a lot and takes quite a while), or ask your former solicitors for their version, based on their handwritten note. I always send the client the latter whatever the result, as people often don't really take in what the judge is saying, feelings are always running high.
i'm new 2 mums net. is there a way of sending you this info without it being public? its possible the info will id me.
some of the grounds i am exploring:
cafcass failed to file s7 report as ordered before decision.
cafcass didn't follow parts of Practice Direction in Family Courts cos didn't produce proposal for instructing an expert
sorry - went off by accident...
expert didn't follow parts of same Practice Direction because a)commented on area outside their expertise and this opinion was the mainstay of the case for removing my child from me b) didn't declare that they hadn't had my medical records (but made damning opinion on my mental health history)
expert's and cafcass' opinions were totally relied upon but they were 'plainly wrong' in some of the facts they used to condemn me with (basically they were both extremely incompetant and biased towards my ex, failing to test their assumptions)
Hmm, sounds like you have some fairly meaty grounds there then, not just the usual discontent of the "losing" party.
I'd lodge an application for leave to file out of time as soon as possible in that case. I realise that you say you can't afford to keep your solicitors on, but if they advise that you have grounds for appeal I think I'd ask them to help you with the application and you can run the case from there. If you can afford it, you could ask them to give you some back ground "hand holding" if things get sticky, but not to actually run the case for you.
I haven't done an appeal for a few years so someone who has more recent experience may come along to help.
thanks for some very useful feedback mumblechum.
just a last point, do you know if the courts have 'a duty of care' to poor sods like me who are forced into being respondents for years and years? I know employers have a legal duty of care for their employees. And it ever allowable for a respondent not to attend court if they are too ill? Again, employees have the right to be too ill to come to work, but the same common sense doesn't seem to apply in the courts.
ps last solicitors turned up at court without a key bundle so i won't be funding anymore of their sports cars...
No, the court doesn't have a duty of care as such.
If one party is too ill to attend court it is their solicitor's responsibility to apply for an adjournment. if it happens on the morning of the hearing the solicitors should explain the situation to the Judge and I would expect the Judge, assuming we're talking about the final hearing, to adjourn. Medical evidence (eg a letter from the GP) will usually persuade the court to adjourn.
Presumably you didn't attend the final hearing due to illness and judgement was granted against you?
I recently heard of a case (not mine thank God) where the mother didn't go to court for a fact finding hearing as she was in hospital. Her solicitors, for some reason I can't fathom, didn't go and plead with the Judge for an adjournment, it went ahead and none of her allegations were proved.
Babybarrister will have more recent experience of appeals than I do, OP, I'd take her advice if I were you.
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