DJ Webb made a no contact order and an order under s.91(14) Children Act 1989 in relation to a father who had litigated issues regarding contact with his children since 2014 and whose litigation conduct, including 13 applications within the current set of proceedings which began in 2020, amounted to domestic abuse of his former partner.
TF, the father of E, aged 9, and P, aged 3, had been litigating the issue of contact with his ex-partner, DL, since 2014. TF regarded himself as a litigator focused on furthering human rights and relentlessly pursuing justice in the face of a corrupt court system. The view of the higher courts was that his litigation is ill-judged and frequently abusive in tone.
The current proceedings began in 2020; TF had made at least 13 separate applications within this set of proceedings which were dealt with as preliminary issues. The applications had no merit and contained threatening and abusive language regarding: members of the judiciary, various professionals including police and social workers, the guardian and his legal representatives and DL and her legal representatives.
The court heard evidence from TF, DL, Dr Rafiq (a consultant forensic psychiatrist instructed as a single joint expert) and the Guardian. Dr Rafiq confirmed TF’s prior diagnoses, that he suffered from a delusional disorder but was stable and his risk to himself and others was low. His view was that this did not directly impact on parenting ability unless he became fully wrapped up in litigation. He indicated the best treatment was the medication prescribed and the prognosis was poor because there was non-acceptance of the condition.
The Guardian submitted that TF would likely not accept any determination of the court, recommending a s.91(14) order, and concluded that TF does not have the insight to meet the needs of E and P if he were to spend time with them or, they were to be placed in his care. The Guardian also considered that, from an emotional point of view, the children would be at risk of harm through TF’s action and behaviour.
The court confirmed various findings that had already been made regarding TF and that should be made in relation to both TF and DL. DJ Webb confirmed that he accepted the evidence of Dr Rafiq and agreed with the Guardian’s assessment of TF, including the risk of emotional harm posed by TF to E and P.
DJ Webb set out the governing principles when considering making an order for no contact in private law proceedings as set out in R (no order for contact after findings of domestic abuse)  EWFC B57 and Re G (Children: Intractable Dispute)  EWCA Civ 548; these principles include that there should be no contact ordered in exceptional circumstances and that there is a positive obligation on the state, and thereby the court, to take measures to reconstitute the relationship between a parent and a child.
It was considered that TF had used the vilest of abuse against DL, which amounted to domestic abuse and so PD12J was engaged. DJ Webb confirmed that he could not make any order for contact after considering PD12J as the physical and emotional safety of DL and the children could not be secured. The court also considered the welfare checklist and confirmed that the children were at risk of emotional harm which could not be mitigated by professional support and so could not make any contact order.
DJ Webb then confirmed that it has been recognised that the litigation process can be a form of post-separation abuse, as reflected in s.91A Children Act 1989. It was confirmed that this case illustrates the potential abuse that can be caused by repeated applications within one set of proceedings. DJ Webb confirmed that it is essential that patterns of repeated litigation activity are identified and if appropriately dealt with as an interim issue in order to avoid the experience that DL has gone through in this case.
The court then gave consideration to orders under s.91(14) Children Act 1989, as well as the principles set out in PD12Q. DJ Webb confirmed that F’s 13 applications were all unsuccessful and many were irrational and abusive. DJ Webb also confirmed that DL needed some respite from constant abusive litigation. An order was made under s.91(14) for 5 years, but the court confirmed that s.91(14) is not a bar to making applications, but is instead a filter.
Mr Justice Mostyn made a declaration of parentage following an application by Amy Boudewijn (‘Amy’).
Amy made an application on 26 May 2022 for a declaration of parentage that Errol Johnson (‘Errol’) was her biological father. Errol passed away in 2002, but Amy sought for her birth certificate to be amended to confirm that Errol was her father in order to complete the paper trail for her Jamaican heritage and ancestry. Amy is seeking to obtain Jamaican citizenship by descent and the process requires Errol’s name to be on her birth certificate.
Amy was born in October 1979 and was adopted when she was 7 months old as her biological mother was unable to care for her and Errol was not willing to support Amy’s mother in caring for her. An adoption order was made in May 1980.
In 1999, Errol made steps to contact Amy through social services; this resulted in indirect contact between Amy and Errol which was followed by much direct contact together, including a holiday, before Errol passed away in 2002. Amy had also visited various members of Errol’s family in Jamaica after his death; Mostyn J confirmed that it was clear that Amy had been accepted as Errol’s daughter.
The matter came before Mostyn J on 4 July 2022, where various procedural issues were dealt with. Amy made an oral application to discharge her adoptive father and biological mother as parties to her application; although there is no explicit power to discharge parties in an application for declaration for parentage under FPR 8, Mostyn J confirmed that there is a power to remove a party from all civil proceedings and so there must be a comparable power in applications under FPR 8 and all types of family law proceedings.
The court also considered that there was no good reason for a reporting restriction of anonymisation of the judgement in this case and no application was made by the parties.
Mostyn J then considered the settled law in relation to declaration of parentage under s.55A and s.58 of the Family Law Act 1986. The court confirmed that there is no requirement that scientific testing must be undertaken on an application for a declaration of parentage.
The court then made the declaration as sought.