Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2007] All ER (D) 26 (Jun)
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Judge:

Thorpe, Arden LJJ and Hedley J

Representation Carolyn Jones for the claimant.
  The defendant appeared in person.
Judgment Dates: 6 June 2007

Catchwords

Practice - Family proceedings - Committal applications - Committal and contact applications - Final care order putting child in care of maternal grandmother - Mother seeking contact - Mother being unrepresented - Mother committed for breaches of court order and sentenced to immediate custodial sentence - Whether judge erring in not giving mother opportunity to obtain legal representation - Whether judge erring in not giving mother opportunity to make submissions on sentence.

The Case

Practice Family proceedings. In family proceedings involving a contact dispute, where the defendant mother had been committed for breaches of a court order after suspended and immediate sentences of imprisonment for earlier breaches, the judge had been justified in proceeding with the case without giving the defendant an opportunity to obtain legal representation, given the defendant's refusals to obtain representation in the past. The defendant had, however, not been given an opportunity to address matters as to sentencing, and those matters would be considered afresh. In all the circumstances, although the judge had been entitled to impose an immediate sentence of imprisonment, the sentence would be reduced somewhat to enable the defendant's immediate release, either through the substitution of a shorter term, or simply through an order for her immediate release.

Practice Areas

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