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"independent social worker"

  • FatherForever
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03 Apr 15 #459101 by FatherForever
Topic started by FatherForever
Hi
Am due at Court on Tuesday morning for a Directions Hearing relating to a Child Arrangements Order. Yesterday afternoon, ex has filed an application "seeking leave to appoint an independent social worker to report on the following welfare issues..."
Which are her desire to take the children and move (she does not have a residence order) and "the children''s change of school".

She says " such independent input is necessary to enable the court to make a determination of the issues." She then goes on to say that a report from CAFCASS will not be completed in time for her to apply to schools.

Well, she''s known about the timing of this hearing for 6 weeks, so why the late application?

But most importantly, what are the circumstances in which one party to a private family law case is allowed to appoint and pay "an indepenedent social worker" to make a report?

I see at section 7 of the Children Act that the Judge can order CAFCASS or a Local Authority to instruct an officer or other appropriate person to make a report... but can one party in a private case really be allowed to do so?

If so, under what conditions? And where is that covered in law or Directions please?

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03 Apr 15 #459103 by Fiona
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It isn''t uncommon for the courts to order the appointment of an ISW in private proceedings if CAFCASS can''t complete a report in time. If you wish you can object of course, give your reasons and propose a reasonable alternative eg jointly appointing and paying for the ISW.

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03 Apr 15 #459116 by FatherForever
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Thank you, Fiona. Is this covered in the law or practice notes, do you know?

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04 Apr 15 #459168 by Fiona
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Family Procedure Rules Part 25 and the Practice Directions 25C I think it is.

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04 Apr 15 #459194 by FatherForever
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Thanks again.

Practice Direction 25C 2.1
"Whenever possible, expert evidence should be obtained from an SJE instructed by both or all parties"

I can live with that.

Thank you.

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07 Apr 15 #459334 by FatherForever
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Not long back from Court...

I had to argue my case against a barrister in front of three magistrates. When I pointed out Practice Direction 25C 2.1, ex withdrew her application to appoint an ISW.

The court ordered that the children shall be interviewed by CAFCASS, as I had applied for.

Thank you so much.

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