- Family law and sexual abuse: a change in approach? (JH v MF)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
Family analysis: In JH v MF the court allowed an appeal from a fact-finding hearing on the basis that the trial judge’s conduct was fundamentally flawed and unjust, acceding to the submission that the judge’s outdated views on sexual assault and likely victim responses had influenced his findings and conclusions on the facts and the law of this case. Russell J highlighted that the trial judgment makes for concerning reading and recommended, with the approval of the President of the Family Division, that judges who hear cases involving serious sexual assault in family cases to be given the same training as criminal judges. Katherine Gittins, barrister at 3 Dr Johnson’s Buildings and counsel for the appellant, considers the decision.
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