Re P and E (Care Proceedings: Whether to Hold a Fact-Finding Hearing) [2024] EWCA Civ 403

2nd May 2024

re p and e heads

Five of 3PB Barristers’ (3 Paper Buildings) family law team have appeared in the recent Court of Appeal case of Re P and E (Care Proceedings: Whether to Hold a Fact-Finding Hearing) [2024] EWCA Civ 403. In the case, Matiss KruminsMatiss KruminsCall: 2008, leading pupil Laurie-Elizabeth KetleyLaurie-Elizabeth KetleyCall: 2022, appeared for the local authority, Stephen AbberleyStephen AbberleyCall: 2000 appeared for the children, and Elizabeth McGrath KCElizabeth McGrath KCCall: 1987Silk: 2014, leading Laura ScottLaura ScottCall: 2001, appeared for the First Respondent (the mother).

The case involved an appeal against a case management decision not to hold a fact-finding hearing when multiple experts agreed that the most likely explanation for the alleged non-accidental injuries of an infant were that they had been inflicted. It was initially concluded by a circuit judge in care proceedings that no fact-finding hearing was needed, however this decision was overturned in the Court of Appeal, following the appeal of the local authority and the children’s guardian, their maternal grandmother.

Stephen Abberley, with contribution from Elizabeth McGrath KC, Laura Scott, Matiss Krumins and Laurie-Elizabeth Ketley, has written a briefing on the case which can be read here.

The briefing offers a summary of the case history and explores the decision to compare the current case with a previous first instance decision (Derbyshire County Council v AA and Others [2022]), rather than applying the criteria set out in cases such as Oxfordshire County Council v DP, RS and BS [2005] or the Court of Appeal decision of Re H-D-H (Children) [2021].

If you wish to contact or instruct 3PB’s family law team, please email [email protected] or telephone 0330 332 0773.