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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9100
Experience:  Barrister at law
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I have an issue with cafcass who dealt with my child case

Customer Question

hi there, I have an issue with cafcass who dealt with my child case several years ago. The case was long and drawn out, and cost me my life savings. Within the process, my side questionned an investigation being carried out by Herfordshire Constabulory which was never followed up on. Although I eventually kept custody of my daughter, it has cost me financially. Today my former husband is now serving 42 months for sexual assault by penetration and I wonder if I have any case against Cafcass for my costs incurred?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: https://hitchin.nub.news/news/local-news/north-herts-sex-offender-richard-newman-jailed-for-despicable-sexual-assault-offences-139322 this is my ex husband
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: none
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: his child maintenance payments have not been recevied since January 2021 either
Submitted: 6 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  plclegal replied 6 days ago.

Hello and thank you for the question. I’ll do my best to assist you and provide an accurate and speedy response. Please bear with me as this is an email service and not live chat, replies will not be instant as a result. Also note that the discussions here are for general information purposes only and do not constitute a lawyer client relationship.

Let me just review your query and I’ll come back to you with any points I need clarifying in order to be able to answer.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Ok thank you
Expert:  plclegal replied 6 days ago.

Can you tell me when the case in the family court was concluded and what specifically you say the Cafcass officer for the family court did that impacted on the outcome of the case/ caused the case to be drawn out?

Did your ex husband challenge the recommendations of Cafcass and did the case go to a final hearing?

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
The case went to a final hearing on the 21.02.2018 and Cafcass seemed ot be more on his side than mine, which was the big problem. I had to pay for a London based barrister to defend my position and within the Cafcass reprot for the final hearing this the extract relating to the alleged offence."14. I do not propose to address the issue of domestic abuse that Mrs Newman sets out at paragraph 16. Requests have been made of Essex Local Authority regarding more detail in relation to the domestic abuse incidents set out in the safeguarding letter dated 20.12.16, however at the time of writing this report no information had been received." from case office Rayna Wass
Expert:  plclegal replied 6 days ago.

I see. The difficulty is that I think on balance the case would clearly have gone to a final hearing regardless of this information, though I do understand that you felt you needed to bring in someone senior to defend your case this was ultimately your choice.

What the Cafcass report says is information has been sought and nothing was forthcoming.

You have to be aware, perhaps, that allegations of domestic abuse are made in many cases. The court and Cafcass have to decide whether this is something that needs investigating in the family court arena, through a fact finding hearing, or in some cases make the choice to not look into the issues because, although serious, they don't impact directly on the issue of contact because they relate solely to issues between the parents not the child's welfare.

Was there a fact finding hearing in your case and did you have a solicitor acting for you prior to instructing the barrister?

Expert:  plclegal replied 6 days ago.

I didn't hear from you again, but I trust that the information provided was of assistance.

My view on the basis of the information provided is that as Cafcass only act in an advisory capacity, and do not exercise judicial functions, even if you challenged their views and succeeded the judge is the person who exercised the decision making role. Cafcass themselves would not be held responsible for the delay or the costs involved in you choosing to instruct a senior barrister.

I appreciate you were looking for a different answer, but I suspect that the length of time since the case concluded and you asking this question means that you were perhaps expecting my advice to be as above.

Thank you for your enquiry today. I am happy to answer follow-up questions - please do get in touch with requests for extra information or further queries and I will do my best to help you. You can request me personally on a new question thread saving my profile as one of your preferred experts and by tagging me (@PLCLEGAL) at the start of the new thread. Best wishes, Peter.