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Y v Z [2014] EWHC 650 (Fam)

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In these Schedule 1 proceedings, mother wanted to be able to disclose to the Police and/or to the Crown Prosecution Service and the Financial Conduct Authority [FCA] the fact that the father lied in statements and on oath in these proceedings.

  • In brief: Should a mother ("M") in protracted Schedule 1 proceedings have been injuncted from disclosing to the police, CPS and Financial Conduct Authority lies said by the father ("F") (which he only admitted after some years) about the knowledge of the sale of a business? Mr Justice Bodey upheld the injunction, concluding that the public interest in the prosecution of a crime and the proper performance of the duties of the FCA were not M's motivation; neither was it the role of the family court to proactively disclose information which might be of interest to outside agencies:  

    "Given the number of skeletons which come out of cupboards in family proceedings, where would it end?.  Charles J in A v A; B v B said:

    In my judgment, it is no part of the functions of the Courts to act as investigators, or otherwise, on behalf of prosecuting authorities, the Revenue, or other public bodies. I also accept the submission that the court is not a 'common informer'. The courts have a separate and discrete public function. In my judgement there is a strong public interest (within the strong public interest in the proper and efficient administration of justice) that the courts should limit themselves to carrying out their functions... and it is only when as a result of the performance of its functions a court is satisfied that an issue arises as to whether material should be disclosed in the overall public interest that it needs to consider, or should consider, that question".

    Highlighting that there are of course skeletons which are uncovered and findings that are made about things so serious so as to warrant disclosure in the public interest, Mr Justice Bodey found that the facts here did not justify such disclosure to be made. F had failed to give full and frank disclosure and had lied about his resources – his conduct had been inexcusable, greedy and unfair and he had come close to the line in respect of a disclosure to the FCA (because F was involved in the financial sector) but he had not crossed that line. Bodey J also noted that the injunction protected M and the child in the sense that M was so determined to see F punished that she was blinded as to the risk she was running in losing her financial support from F and the knock on effect that this would have on the child. However he did say:

    "No-one should however regard this case as a green light for failing to disclose relevant information and/or for lying to the Family courts. There is and always has been a probability that anyone who does so will be the subject of sanctions of one sort or another, and of differing types and severity, including in appropriate circumstances disclosure to relevant outside agencies." 


Published: 29/04/2014

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