Private & Public Children Law - A Box Set of 6 Essential Modules

Private & Public Children Law - A Box Set of 6 Essential Modules

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B; C; D
Update: Requires no prior subject knowledge
3 hours
Access for entire organisation


This box set of 6 online modules presented by Stuart Barlow and Christopher Miller includes 6 x 30 minute modules which will be of interest to anyone involved in the area of private and public children law cases.

Module 1 - Finding of Fact Hearings in Private Children Cases: Stuart Barlow

Finding of fact hearings in private children cases have been a source of much debate in recent times. The Court of Appeal has recently given guidance on matters relevant to the court process when considering domestic abuse and fact-finding hearings.

This module will consider the current law and procedure as well as recent caselaw and will include the following:

  • The reasons for finding of fact hearings
  • Guidance to the court including Practice Direction 12J
  • Scott schedules and witness statements
  • What happens at the hearing itself?
  • Possible changes in the light of Re H-N and Others (Children) Domestic Abuse: Findings of Fact Hearings)

Module 2 - Special Guardianship Orders: Stuart Barlow

Since the introduction of Special Guardianship Orders there has been a steady rise in their use and have been recent changes to both the procedure and practice.

This module will include the following:

  • Current procedures and issues
  • The Special Guardianship Regulations 2005
  • Variation and discharge applications
  • Changes to current practice and procedure

Module 3 - Litigants in Person & McKenzie Friends: Stuart Barlow

The growth of parties who act as Litigants in Person (LIP) is proving to be one of the most challenging aspects for courts and advocates in family proceedings.

This module seeks to address the challenges of working with a LIP and will take a fresh look at the current position including the role of McKenzie Friends and their future within the court system.

This module will include the following:

  • Reasons for LIPs
  • The Court’s approach to LIPs
  • Conducting a hearing with the LIP
  • Lawyers’ responsibility towards the LIP
  • Cost issues
  • Rights of audience and rights to conduct litigation
  • Increase in the role of McKenzie Friends and possible changes
  • Caselaw

Module 4 - The New Private Law Pilot Scheme: Christopher Miller

The long-awaited new Pathfinder Private Law reforms have started to be trialled in a few selected Courts within the jurisdiction. It is early days, but it is likely that the procedure will be extended (whether modified or unmodified) to other Court centres within the jurisdiction and all practitioners need to be familiar with the scheme.

The module will include:

  • What is the underlying philosophy of the new pilot scheme?
  • What are the provisions of PD36Z and how are they likely to operate?
  • How do we marry this scheme with evolving jurisprudence in relation to domestic abuse
  • When and how is the effectiveness of this scheme going to be reviewed?
  • What next?

Module 5 - The Regulation and Use of Experts: Christopher Miller

The evidence of experts in Children Act cases is central to a fair and comprehensive outcome for many families, but in recent years the availability of suitably qualified experts has become fraught with difficulty.

This module will include the following:

  • The use of psychologists
    • Who or what are psychologists?
    • Must they be regulated?
    • The FJC guidance
    • Guidance from the President
    • Recent caselaw
  • Should experts whose evidence has not been accepted by the Court be named in published judgments?
  • When should the Court disregard opinion evidence from experts?

Module 6 - Uncertain Perpetrator Findings: Where is the Dividing Line?: Christopher Miller

The test for being included in the pool of perpetrators of an inflicted injury to a child is a low one of ‘real possibility’. However, such a finding can be life changing for the adult against whom the finding has been made as well as for the child who sustained the injury.

Courts should attempt to, but not strain to, identify a perpetrator on the balance of probabilities. If they cannot then a pool finding is likely to follow. This process give rise to two tricky issues which will be explored in this module and will include the following:

  • When can an individual be excluded from the pool because there is no real possibility that they caused the injury?
  • When can an individual be identified on the balance of probabilities without straining (thereby avoiding a pool finding)?
  • Current caselaw including the recent case of Re A [2022]

This webinar was recorded on 16th May 2023