April 28, 2023
The case of Re: N (A Child) (Termination of Appointment of Children’s Guardian) was an interesting case heard in the Family Court. It determined when a Children’s Guardian can be a removed from a case. In this matter, the father made an application to remove the appointment of the Children’s Guardian on the basis that the Guardian had unfairly prejudged the case and due to some inappropriate comments the Guardian had made about the father’s solicitor to the head of family law at the father’s solicitor’s firm. The Guardian suggested that the father’s solicitor was seeking to undermine the competence of the social worker by suggesting that the father should be assessed by an ISW rather than the allocated social worker. The Guardian felt it was hypocritical of the solicitor for the father to make this suggestion while instructing a barrister to present this argument to Court rather than undertaking the advocacy themselves.
It was found that the Guardian should be removed from this matter. The Judge found that the Guardian had made many wrong assertions about the father’s solicitor and even though there was a clear factual matrix showing that the Guardian’s assertions were incorrect, the Guardian still maintained this view. Furthermore, the Guardian made complaints about the father’s solicitor in an inappropriate manner by emailing the head of family law at the father’s solicitor’s firm. The Judge also pointed out that the solicitor could have instructed a barrister due to having no capacity to undertake the advocacy rather than due to the solicitor’s reluctance to present the argument to the Court themselves.
The Judge was concerned that the father may feel that the Guardian would be biased against him due to the Guardian’s dislike of his legal representative. The Judge was concerned that the parents would no longer be open and honest with the Guardian in the future.
This case was very interesting as it showed the extremely rare circumstances where a Guardian can be removed. The actions of the Guardian must be so severe that they fall short of the degree of fairness that can reasonably be expected.
If you have a family case where you require some advice or representation, please contact Mavis for an appointment with a family solicitor on 020 8885 7986.