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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> B R & C (Children), Re  EWCA Civ 1825 (12 November 2002)
Cite as:  EWCA Civ 1825
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IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT
PONTYPRIDD COUNTY COURT
(HIS HONOUR JUDGE WOODWARD)
Tuesday, 12 November 2002
B e f o r e :
(Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss)
LORD JUSTICE THORPE
LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER
|B R & C (CHILDREN)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR C JOHN (instructed by Messrs Hugh James, Bargoed CF81 8PA) appeared on behalf of the Father
MISS S OWEN (instructed by Bridgend County Council, Bridgend CF 31 4WB) appeared on behalf of the Local Authority
MR M EVERALL QC (instructed by Messrs David Prosser & Co) appeared on behalf of the Respondent Mother}
Crown Copyright ©
Monday, 11th November 2002
"The Children Act 1989 is powerless to compel disclosure of parties' medical records."
"In children cases there is no general power in the Court to garner documentary evidence of its own motion."
"The mother's case is that the issue of a summons is effectively an abuse of privilege. In any event the request is largely irrelevant, fishing, speculative and oppressive, which entitles a Court to set aside the summons - Senior v Holdsworth ex parte Independent Television News Ltd  2 All ER 1009. The Guardian, who pursues the application, having failed to identify how the records are relevant to the issues in hand, the inference drawn by the mother is that this is an expensive irrelevant fishing expedition."
"It is a duty owed to the court both by the parties and by their legal representatives to give full and frank disclosure in ancillary relief applications and also in all matters in respect of children."
"Although, as I have acknowledged, the class of cases in which it may be appropriate to restrict a litigant's access to documents is somewhat wider than has hitherto been recognised, it remains the fact, in my judgment, that such cases will remain very much the exception and not the rule. It remains the fact that all such cases require the most anxious, rigorous and vigilant scrutiny. It is for those who seek to restrain the disclosure of papers to a litigant to make good their claim and to demonstrate with precision exactly which documents or classes of documents require to be withheld. The burden on them is a heavy one. Only if the case for non-disclosure is convincingly and compellingly demonstrated will an order be made. No such order should be made unless the situation imperatively demands it. No such order should extend any further than is necessary. The test, at the end of the day, is one of strict necessity. In most cases the needs of a fair trial will demand that there be no restrictions on disclosure. Even if a case for restrictions is made out, the restrictions must go no further than is strictly necessary."