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Family Court contested hearing help

(8 Posts)
ElsieMc Sun 21-Apr-13 15:30:48

I have a contested hearing coming up to vary a contact order for my GS1 for whom I have a residence order. I am a litigant in person.

In the past the parties were represented and one of the solicitors helpfully put together a court bundle. There is no bundle now and I feel I need to see one or two documents on the court file to assist me put forward a case.

My GS1's father has been violent all his life and has a drink problem. However, within the last year or two his violence has escalated. He was found guilty of GBH last year and a probation report was prepared and a brief cafcass report containing information from when they approached the police and social services.

He also does not attend the contact he already has and now wants to take him abroad for two weeks. I do not think my GS will be safe but the Judge says my GS has a right to contact with his dad, which I don't dispute. My GS is very unhappy and his views are not taken into account. He is 11. The Judge has not asked CAFCASS for a report.

I would like a copy of these documents fromthe court file, but I am scared to ask the court because I find the Judge hostile toward me and I am scared if I do anything he does not like, his treatment of me will become even worse.

Perhaps I have nothing to gain from this, but I believe as primary carer I should know what I am up against. Can I do this or am I making a big mistake?

Xenia Sun 21-Apr-13 16:22:46

I am not the best person to help, but what documents are you after?
Presumably there are documents in the original bundle and you have a copy of that one from the year before which the solicitor put together. There is no reason you cannot put another up to date one ready for any hearings coming up - it's just a question of secretarial work, buy some dividers, do page numbers and an index and make sure court, you and any other parties each have identical copies. So it could be very helfpful if you get it ready for everyone for a particular hearing coming up.

I think your question is how can you get copies of new documents since the last bundle was put together. If any were produced by you you will already have them. If someone has applied for a hearing there will be some sort of notice document and statements which I would have thought they should have sent to the court and to you already. In theory there should not be documents you don't have.

Was it you who applied to vary the contact daughter because of teh father's recent violence? If so has he sent some statements to the court about his bad conduct? He should have sent them to you and the court and you should be sending him everything you send to the court so everyone has exactly the same documents.

Make a list of what you have and what you think is missing and try to call someone at the court to find out what doc uments they have on their file. There is no reason the judge should be involved in this at all as it's just an administrative matter.

ElsieMc Sun 21-Apr-13 16:34:55

Thanks for this Xenia. There was a final hearing some years back, but these are a new set of proceedings. What I am after are the probation report and cafcass report which I have never seen. My question is whether I am entitled to see them as the Judge requested them. The father applied back to the court. I do my utmost to avoid any court proceedings.

Xenia Mon 22-Apr-13 13:53:57

You need a family lawyer. Usually in court cases both sides can see all evidence so that they could draw up their own report to contradict it and bring in their own evidence or at least refute it. I would certainly call the court and say you do not appear to have been sent the probation and cafcass report and can you pick up a copy or be emailed it. If you have not had what you need to comment on by the time of a hearing p resumably you could apply in advance for it to be put off to another day 14 days after you have had a chance to look at the papers. However I hvae no idea what normally happens with the kinds of reports you mention.

ElsieMc Mon 22-Apr-13 14:44:17

I cannot afford a family lawyer any more that is why I am self representing unfortunately. I have had very mixed representation in the past, but it is certainly better if you can afford a decent barrister as it does remove so much stress.

Xenia Mon 22-Apr-13 15:28:53

I just meant on here - some do post on here and they would know all about these documents and who has access to them.

Collaborate Mon 22-Apr-13 17:42:45

A copy of the old reports, if relevant, should be made available to you. Write to the court, or ask the judge at the next hearing.

iheartdusty Thu 25-Apr-13 21:57:31

coming late to the thread - contact CAFCASS directly to get a copy of their report, or they will tell you if there is some good reason one hasn't been sent to you.

By the way, your OP says the judge has not asked CAFCASS for a report - a little confusing.

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