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Re A (A letter to a young person) [2017] EWFC 48

While OFRM case watch is concentrating on noteworthy decisions in the Australian Family Law Courts, a recent UK decision is well worth a read for anyone who wants to be reminded of the good that can occur within a Family Court.

The case of Re A is a decision made by Justice Peter Jackson in the UK Family Court. Prior to this decision Justice Jackson had gained some notoriety for being the first judge to have used emoticons within a judgement.

In Re A the court was asked to decide whether a 14 year old boy could move from England to live with his Father in a Scandinavian country. At the time the case was heard the Father still lived in England and it seems his plans for moving were loose at best.

The case would be notable for the fact that the Judge decided to hear directly from the child and how the court handled the parents (who were unrepresented) cross examining the child.

However, the exceptional part of this judgement is the manner in which it is written, the judge took the unusual step of writing the judgement as a letter to the child. In taking this approach the judge crafts the decision in age appropriate language, sensitively handles the difficult issues, gives some good hints to the parents of how they need to change and overall provides an analysis that would enable the child to understand the decision and be well placed to cope with life in the future.

This is a decision that is well worth reading in full: