The Court of Appeal has handed down a significant judgment on Convention Rights of Witnesses

ECHR Article 6 and/or 8, Convention Rights of Witnesses

Re: W (A child) [2016] EWCA Civ 1140

The Court of Appeal has today handed down a significant judgment recognising that a witness in Family proceedings, who is the subject of adverse judicial findings and criticism, and who asserts that the process in the lower court amounted to a breach of ECHR Article 6 and/or 8, can challenge the judge’s findings on appeal. 

Zimran Samuel was instructed for the appellant social worker (SW).

Lord Justice McFaralane stated at paragraph 62:

‘‘For SW, Mr Zimran Samuel, who acts on a pro bono instruction and to whom the court is most grateful for taking on this substantial case, has informed the court that SW who, following these proceedings went to work for a different local authority, has been suspended as a consequence of the judge’s findings and has been unable to work for any other authority since that time. He argues that that circumstance alone is sufficient to amount to a legal consequence sufficient to bring her appeal within the boundaries established by Cie Noga.’’

At paragraph 86 the Court noted:

‘Mr Samuel made a powerful case, based upon the detailed criticisms made of SW in the judgment and the impact that these have had upon SW’s health and employment, for holding that her Art 8 rights to private life have already been substantially compromised by the criticisms made of her in the judge’s judgment...’

The appeal was unanimously allowed by the President of the Family Division - Sir James Munby, Lord Justice McFaralane and Lord Justice Christopher Clark.

The full judgment is available here.