Police Disclosure in Family Cases


Somia Siddiq, a solicitor in our Family Team acted for the Appellant in the Court of Appeal case of Re M (Children) [2019] EWCA Civ 1364, which considered the difficult issue of when material from family law cases can be used in police investigations.

Tim Moloney QC of Doughty Street Chambers, and Chris Barnes of 4 Paper Buildings were instructed. Judgment was handed down on 31st July 2019.

The Court of Appeal considered arguments on behalf of our client in relation to the correct approach when deciding an application for disclosure of material to the Police in Family Proceedings.  The case has led to an important clarification of the law because:

  1. It concerned a novel point of law: the relevance of the right to silence to an application for disclosure from family proceedings where there is a parallel criminal investigation;
  2. It  raised an important point of wider application concerning the proper approach to applications for disclosure in general under the Family Procedure Rules part 12.73(b); and
  3. It considered the interface between criminal and family proceedings.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division reaffirmed the principle that applications for disclosure ‘should only be granted if the criteria in the case of Re C (A Minor) (Care Proceedings: Disclosure) [1997] Fam 76 are satisfied and it is necessary and proportionate to do so.’ Such applications are to be afforded careful consideration. 

The full judgment can be found here.


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