Secret information, secret hearings…

“All parties – the parents in Re I – are entitled to know what is going on, procedurally at least. It maybe – just, perhaps – that special arrangements need to be made for the judge only to read the evidence from I before a decision is made as to what his parents be told; but they must know what is being done.”

dbfamilylaw

Re I (A Child) [2016] EWHC 910 (Fam) (18 April 2016), Holman J (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2016/910.html) is indeed an odd case. (For a more specific view on its oddness, see https://suesspiciousminds.com/2016/04/21/something-something-oranges-something/). The first odd thing is that it came on for hearing at all; and the last is that one of the barristers in the case seems – unwittingly – to have discussed the case with a fellow member of chambers who was subsequently retained. We cannot be sure at this stage whether the second barrister is privy to the secret which is the central feature of the case.

For that secret is the central oddity of it all: a 15 year old had passed on information to a social worker, but insisted that his parents were not to be told. Should the judge be told, wondered the local authority and the guardian? Their representatives secured a hearing for to…

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