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Amanda Weston QC representing Appellant Mothers in Court of Appeal Domestic Abuse Case

Thursday 21 January 2021

Amanda Weston QC of Garden Court Chambers is representing two appellant Mothers. She is leading Dr Charlotte Proudman of Goldsmiths Chambers. 

In the case of B-B (a child) Amanda Weston QC acts for the mother., leading Dr Charlotte Proudman, instructed by Jenny Beck of Beck Fitzgerald.

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The Court of Appeal is hearing four linked appeals in cases involving allegations of rape, domestic abuse and coercive control on 19, 20 and 21 January 2021, which is being live-streamed for the public to attend.

Amanda Weston QC and Charlotte Proudman applied for permission to appeal out of time on behalf of three of the four appellant mothers, which was granted. They invited the Court to join the cases as a grouped appeal. The cases were grouped together and leap-frogged from the High Court to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal is due to give general guidance about PD12J and the family court’s approach to hearing allegations involving domestic abuse.

The issues of principle set out by the court are as follows:-

1. How and when fact-finding hearings should take place.

2. The treatment in the family courts of allegations of marital or partnership rape and, in particular, whether the family court is bound to analyse factual issues within the context of the criminal law.

3. The treatment of coercive and controlling behaviour in the family courts.

4. How Practice Direction 12J is to be applied, together with Practice Direction 3AA.

5. Following a fact-finding hearing, the proper approach in private law proceedings where:-

         (a) there have been findings of domestic abuse

         (b) allegations of domestic abuse have been dismissed.

This is the first time the Court of Appeal has looked at these issues in 20 years. The last case before the Court of Appeal was Re: LVMH [2001] 2 WLR 339, when coercive control, at that stage, was not considered domestic abuse.

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