Doncaster Office
Sheffield Office

Case Study: Protection against self-incrimination in family proceedings

08 December 2021

Dawn Hughes

3 children

In the case of F and M 2021 the Applicant father applied to court for a Child Arrangements Order to spend time with his children and a Specific Issue Order to change the name of the youngest child. The Respondent mother also sought a Specific Issue Order to dismiss the father’s parental responsibility and permission to disclose some police documents filed on a previous immigration case by the father’s Solicitors. His application to remain in the UK had failed.

The main issue in the case was that the father tried to argue that nothing should be disclosed to the police in respect of any statements or admissions made by him in the proceedings. Favourable arguments were made on the father’s behaviour which centred around that he should be afforded similar protection against self-incrimination as a parent involved in Care Proceedings.

However, the relevant law does not apply to private law proceedings and the Judge noted that the protection existed to promote the best interests of the child and not for the protection of the parent. It was not open to him to extend the provision beyond use in care proceedings. This would be a matter for Parliament. The Father was therefore unsuccessful in respect of his application. This means that it remains possible for admissions made in children proceedings to be disclosed to other Authorities.

If you require any further information as to children matters or any other Family matter, please do not hesitate to contact our family team on 01302 341414.