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TOPIC: From Magistrates to County

From Magistrates to County 5 years 2 months ago #70014

  • justdad
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I've been denied contact with my children for almost five months now. Two very young children, 9 month old twins who were just four month old when I saw them last.

The other side has a solicitor and has been hurling allegation after allegation, has had me arrested and subsequently in court for harassment where I was found not guilty but a restraining order was issued.

It's painful as many here will know, especially when you are an honest and caring father who is innocent of anything other than daring to ask to see his children.

Anyway, we went through hearing one where an S7 was ordered. The report was reasonable, no safeguarding issues raised and both of the recommendations offered suggested contact - one option was 50/50 and the other a build to substantial contact.

So we get to court a few weeks ago for a hearing in the magistrates and I raised some questions over mental health, suggesting that the lies and stories were just too bizarre to be the product of a "normal person". This delayed things as I was invited to put in a Psychological Assessment application which I did a few days later.

We get back to court and the other side decide they want the case shifted to County Court because it is complex and there are allegations of abuse which will need a fact find hearing.

I argued against the transfer but it was granted....

I assumed this would introduce yet more months of delays but I was surprised.

We literally walked from the magistrates court to the County Court and were in front of a Judge within an hour!

He told me I had delayed matters with my application and it was dismissed.

Then he turned on the other side and pretty much asked "what's going on here, this isn't a no contact case?" - they threw some very lame allegations into the pot and were basically ignored as not one of them is remotely related to "The Welfare Check list".

Half an hour later we walked out with some initial supervised contact and a clear path ahead to unsupervised and full days and overnights.

All of this decided by one District Judge who had done nothing but read our statements and understood the story.

I get a sense that if we had stayed in the magistrates, the fact find would have been the next hearing and yet more lengthy delays would have ensued.

As it is, the other sides plan backfired and it was clear from her solicitor that they realised they had shot themselves in the foot and the cruel game I had been a part of had come to an end.

So some advice for anyone caught up in a slow moving case, get it moved over to County Court, let one experienced judge look at the case rather than three magistrates who will dither and have no real understanding of the law.

It's worked wonders for me in breaking a stalemate, I'll see my children within weeks now. Whereas before I think I was looking at months!

Hope this is useful.
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Last Edit: by justdad.

From Magistrates to County 5 years 2 months ago #70020

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Great news! Thanks for coming to up date us and for your sharing your experience of Magistrates versus County, it's good to have confirmation.

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

From Magistrates to County 5 years 2 months ago #70080

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What a fantastic update - I particularly like the fact that you walked out of the magistrates and into the county court - I've not heard that being done before, but it must save so much administration, as well as stress on everyone. Great result and thanks for letting us know.

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From Magistrates to County 5 years 2 months ago #70111

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Thank you for sharing. I've never heard of a case being transferred on the same day, that's amazing. Would you mind sending me a pm with the name of the court please? It would be good to know that for the future.

It's amazing the difference between mags and a DJ in county, there's the same difference again when you step up to a CJ. Well done and great news for you and your children.
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I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

From Magistrates to County 5 years 2 months ago #70116

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Sent Yoda - let me know you got it - never confident with the PM system here.

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From Magistrates to County 5 years 2 months ago #70137

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Hi justdad, I did thank you and I've replied to you :)

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DAD.info Moderator

I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

From Magistrates to County 5 years 2 months ago #70138

Great news!

I have been lucky to have my cases dealt with by DJ, MJ are lay people like you and I...a thorn to the legal system!

Some courts like in Hampshire now have combined court services so matters are presented to senior judges swiftly too.

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From Magistrates to County 5 years 2 months ago #70146

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Yes, the difference is incredible.

Literally after five months of waiting, within an hour I had contact.

All the judge had to go on was our statements too, I am amazed.

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