Family Law Decision on Recorded Evidence

Family Law Decision on Recorded Evidence

In a recently reported family case, the father of a child sewed recording devices into the child’s clothing without the child’s knowledge. This enabled the father to record meetings the child had with social services and the child’s guardian. The court had to decide first of all whether to admit the recordings as evidence.  Although the court did allow the evidence the judge did not find that the content of the recordings had any real value when determining the issues of the case. However the court then decided that the fact the father had undertaken these recordings was one of the main reasons why the court eventually supported the mother’s application for the child to live with her and not the father. The court also made a costs order against the father.

In the judgement from M-v-F (Covert recording of children) [2016] EWFC29 the judge stated “It is almost always likely to be wrong for a recording device to be placed on a child for the purpose of gathering evidence in family proceedings, whether or not the child is aware of its presence”. The judge went on to describe “the serious consequences” that arose from the father having made those recordings.

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