It’s not child’s play: court applications relating to children

The vital need for early legal advice on disputes concerning children has been highlighted by Thursfields Solicitors following a case where a litany of mistakes were made.

The leading Midland law firm’s advice comes following a public apology by high court judge Sir Jonathan Cohen to opposing parents in the Family Division case JB v DJ, which was deciding who should look after their child.

Cohen, who allowed the mother’s appeal against an order and sent the case back to the family court at Liverpool, said it was a matter of “great regret that everything that procedurally could have gone wrong in this case has gone wrong.”

Thursfields look deeper…

Lorna Tipple, director of the Family Law team at Thursfields Solicitors, explained that the case was made much worse by the fact that neither party had legal representation.

She said: “This sad case is a stark reminder of the issues that can arise during children act proceedings.

“The court identified procedural issues were rife, which shows how crucial it is to access legal advice at an early stage to avoid such pitfalls. 

“With proper representation, the issues could have been avoided, but neither party had legal representation. 

“Early advice and planning the strategy of a court application ensures that clients are aware of their options, potential outcomes and risks.

“Crucially it means they can make better informed decisions for the benefit of their children, who are the primary concern for all.”

Lorna said that even before an application to court is made, it is important for parties to have considered all other avenues such as mediation, solicitor correspondence and ultimately to then plan the strategy behind an application to court. 

She added: “Early legal representation is crucial as a children case can take many months to unfold and resolve and each stage of the proceedings is key. 

“Even instructing solicitors just prior to a hearing means that the options for directions to progress the case are likely to be limited.”

Children & Family Law Advice

For advice on children matters or any family law issues, Lorna Tipple or a member of the Family Law team on 0345 20 73 72 8 or by emailing  

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