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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Is this the same as Legal Aid? My niece is currently

Customer Question

Hello. Is this the same as Legal Aid? My niece is currently involved in a child custody case, wherein the father has temporary custody. He has also taken a Non Molestation Order out against her. However, yesterday my niece received a copy of a police report that was deliberately withheld at the first hearing on XXX XXX, which states that he did NOT think my niece was a threat and, therefore, we feel this should have been shown at the hearing and would have avoided another Fact Finding Hearing in XXX XXX. It also proves he has been lying. We want to get an Urgent Order 1:1 meeting for my niece and the Judge but the court told us she needs legal representation to look over the document, however, all legal routes are saying they cannot help including the CAB and a private solicitor is too expensive. Please can you further advise regarding Public Funding. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

How old is the child and what is the significance of this report?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare,
The child is 3 years old and we are trying to obtain legal advice in a custody case and the best way forward, i.e. applying for an Urgent Order to the Court, as previously stated. It is very important. Thank you.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Sorry - I should have been clearer - how will this report make a difference to whether or not there will be a Fact Finding?

What contact does the mother have with the child and what allegations has the father made?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, it's too inconvient to talk a right now. The mother has two visitation rights: 1.5 hours twice a week. The father has made allegations that she is a threat to her child because she sent text messages. These were empty threats made in desperation and isolation because he was not being supportive. The text messages were the only hard evidence he had and gave at the First Non Molestation Hearing in November. When the Judge asked for the police report, his case worker said at first she had them but then after whispering with him, she must have left them in the office. The police report clearly states that the mother is not a threat when the police asked him, hence, we feel the whole court process should be thrown out because of this and proves he has been lying. The Fact Finding is not until February. We were hoping that an Urgent Court Order with the Judge would allow the Judge to decide what to do next or if it is worthwhile continuing. We feel that withholding the report at the first hearing, is misleading and delaying the process in order for him to keep the child. As the court process is all about safeguarding the child, this police report proves the mother is not a threat and never was. Thank you.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

What is the Finding Of Fact meant to discover -(it will not be about whether or not the father thought the mother was a threat)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was decided to have the Fact Finding hearing in XXXX XXXX in order for the father to provide 5 hard facts/evidence that the mother is a threat to him and the child, as the only hard evidence he had was the text messages. He provided the crime reference number but not the report, as stated above and the Judge obviously wants to see this too. The mother has not been legally represented at court and therefore unaware of the process, length and restrictions. The mother has to then respond to his allegations. I've just been on line and to specify, it's an Without Notice Application (Urgent Order), we want to apply for as 'the overriding objective is best furthered by doing so' and they failed to disclose vital information at the first hearing, hence, we would like the Judge to decide whether the Non Molestation Order should continue. We feel it has been a total injustice. However, it is unclear which form to download and complete and the mother was advised when she called the Family Court that she could do this but would need a solicitor to look over it. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We are waiting for the father's statement to come through regarding the 5 new allegations. He had to hand it into court by today. We feel these will be lies again and that the Police Report proves this. The mother is not entitled to legal aid and hence, I asked if Public Funding was the same thing, however, I think it is! Thanks again Clare.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Sadly yes Public Funding is another name for Legal Aid.

however that doe snot mean that there are not ways forward.

Can you give me a brief overview of how things got to this point so we can see if there is an easier way through?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think we just needed to know if we get the Without Notice Urgent Order, would the Judge then be able to throw this out of court as he has all the facts. As Cafcass are involved, we cannot divulge any other information but I can state the main reason for the Non Molestation Order is to safeguard the child and father, but as stated above the Police Report that was not disclosed at the hearing shows that he was lying. Apart from the texts, there was no other hard evidence. Cafcass became involved because of this. Is it an N244 form we need to complete and does a solicitor have to look over it or can we complete and send to the court? Thank you.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Actually it is more complicated than that.

What I was trying to find out is if there was an incident that led to the applictaion - or is it based on a "pattern of behaviour" - this is important to ensure that actions taken now are not used against her.

Could you also confirm whether the Fact Finding is part of the Children Act applictaion - or the Non Molestation proceedings - the forms are different depending on the answer - and neither are the N244

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Non Molestation Order is separate from the Children's Act application although it is this Non Molestation Order that is keeping the mother from seeing her daughter (or having very limited contact). It was due to an argument sent by texts messages that the mother sent which were threatening and abusive. However, the Police Report states that when the father was asked by the police whether they felt the mother would carry out the threats, he said no, hence, now we have a copy of this police report, that was withheld at the First Non Molestation Hearing in November, the mother wants to speak to the Judge on a 1:1 basis - a Without Notice Urgent Order to state her concerns about this, as we feel it should have been thrown out of court if the police report had been shown. We do not feel there should be a further Fact Finding Hearing that is due on XXX XXXX. The mother has now received his statement regarding the next hearing on 17th February which basically shows no further facts from the first hearing. Thank you.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

is the Fact Finding hearing part of the Children Act application or not?

If it is a part of the Non Molestation proceedings the form is different