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Re L (children) [2012] EWCA Civ 721

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  • (Thorpe LJ, Aikens LJ and Black LJ) 4 May 2012

    In brief: A father's ("F") appeal against an occupation order. F and his wife ("M") had eight year old twins ("L"). As their relationship brokedown, F and M had heated arguments some of which F recorded. At first instance, the judge found that L were being adversely affected by M and F's arguments and were likely to suffer significant emotional harm. An occupation order under s.33 Family Law Act 1996 was made for a three month period with F being required to leave the family home; the judge also made a shared residence order for L to live with M and spend frequent time with F. F appealed, arguing that the judge had been wrong to make the occupation order as there was no proof of violence. The Court of Appeal dismissed F's appeal having found that the first instance judge had not erred in the exercise of his discretion. The judge had considered both s.33(7) and s.33(6) Family Law Act 1996 - s.33(6) gave the court broad discretion to make an occupation order and this was not limited to cases involving violence. Given the finding that the children would be adversely affected by F and M's behaviour, the judge had had to intervene. The decision that M should be the primary carer was reasonable, especially because F would be making frequent trips abroad whilst the order was in force.

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Published: 14/05/2012

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