Finding of fact


Mckenzie friend finding of facts hearings [Free support at Court]

Re B (Care Proceedings: Standard of Proof)

Re W (Children) (Abuse: Oral Evidence) [2010] UKSC 12

 Lancashire County Council v D and E [2010] 2 FLR 196 

Defending Allegations Of Domestic Abuse 

I can help you with the preparation stages and also help you obtain free legal support at court from a Professional within the family courts system when you cannot obtain legal aid.

Cross-examination is not allowed by the accused, the process needs to be explained on how to use the family court practice directions to save you thousands and also give you some fairness on how your case is conducted.

  • You will need to formulate the correct questions for the allegations being made
  • And prepare the case files and evidence you wish to use. 
  • The finding of fact hearings and how this can be resolved on a tight budget can Advice is available pre-court 

Free Legal support for defending allegations in court 

Help with the questions coming from statements that you dispute

Some information about the Law

In a bid to clarify any prior misunderstandings, the Court of Appeal has provided guidance as to when fact-finding hearings in private family law proceedings are required when allegations of domestic abuse are raised. The case of K and K [2022] EWCA Civ 468, which was handed down on the 8th of April 2022, highlights that the court is not obliged to hold a fact-finding hearing in every case where domestic abuse is alleged. The decision, which follows on from the seminal case of Re H-N (Children) (DomesticAbuse: Finding of Fact Hearings) [2021] EWCA Civ 448, instead makes it clear that the court ought only to embark on a fact-finding hearing if "the alleged abuse is likely to be relevant to what the court is being asked to decide relating to the children's welfare"[para 8]. Moreover, the court has also sought to emphasise in its judgment "the importance of the requirement in rule 3.3(1) for the court to consider, at every stage in proceedings, whether non-court dispute resolution is appropriate

If a fact-finding hearing is necessary the person making allegations will need to schedule them with dates and details of what happened and support this with a detailed statement. The other party will then have the opportunity to respond to both documents. Witnesses can also give statements. The court may also make orders to obtain information such as police or medical records where relevant. At the hearing, both parties and any witnesses will need to give evidence to the court and be questioned on their positions to try to establish who is telling the truth, before the Judge makes a decision.

The judge will usually go through each allegation and whether it is proved (believed to be true) or not. The judge will then decide how the case progresses. Sometimes if no allegations are proved decisions as to child arrangements can be made there and then. Usually, the judge will allow the parties time to reflect and either order another hearing with or without further involvement from CAFCASS. If findings are made the court will have to decide whether there are steps that can be taken for it to be safe for a child to see that parent such as providing for a violent parent to attend a Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programme to address their violent behavior. Sometimes the findings will be so serious that the court will decide that it is not safe for the parent to spend time with the child or may decide that they should not do so face to face and can only send occasional letters or cards.

Parents who consider making serious false allegations need to be warned that doing so will usually in itself be considered harmful to the child and could be considered so serious that the court decides that it is not in the child's best interests to live with or in extreme circumstances even spend time with that parent.


High court judge warns against appealing and finding of fact, I have explained to many parents that any such finding could have massive consequences, and I strongly advise that in such cases you use a barrister at this hearing. 


The Guidance and case law make clear that the courts and professionals have been too willing to embark on fact-finding hearings without proper consideration as to what purpose those hearings will serve in the context of the proceedings as a whole. If this Guidance is applied robustly then the courts should see a decrease in the number of fact-finding hearings being listed as well as a decrease in the length of such hearings as the issues for determination to be narrowed and focused. Certainly, this writer and others working in the area have already seen magistrates and district judges taking this approach and refusing fact-finding hearings in cases where both parties have submitted that such a hearing is necessary.

Whether this approach will actually lead to decrease in cost and delay remains to be seen. One of the criticisms in the Guidance was that unnecessary fact findings also meant the "ill-focused use of scarce expert resources", presumably referring to numerous medical experts coming to court to give evidence that could not realistically be challenged. However, one concern is that the Guidance, if applied, will inevitably shift the focus onto the welfare stage and the courts will be requesting reports from professionals who are being asked to consider their recommendations in the light of a number of different possible factual scenarios, presumably at a higher cost.
Perhaps the benefits of the Guidance can be more easily appreciated in the private law sphere. 

where in all but the most serious domestic violence cases a progression of contact from a supervised setting to unsupervised could be managed without the need for a fact-finding hearing when the alleged perpetrator is willing to undertake work such as anger management courses and provide undertakings to the court. 

The current Guidance
The Guidance makes four main points:
1 The decision about whether to hold a split hearing rests with the judge, not with the parties or CAFCASS. Such hearings should not be ordered just because the parties agree that there is a need or because CAFCASS say they cannot report without one. 

2 A fact-finding hearing should only be ordered where the court "takes the view that the case cannot properly be decided without such a hearing." 

3 Even if a fact-finding hearing is necessary, consideration must be given as to whether this needs to be a split hearing or should form part of the substantive hearing. "In my judgment, it will be a rare case in which a separate fact-finding hearing is necessary." 

4 In domestic violence cases this means that allegations of harm put forward as a reason to deny contact do not automatically require a fact-finding hearing. Instead, the court should rigorously apply the guidance in the Practice Direction: Residence and Contact order: Domestic Violence and Harm [2009] 2 FLR 1400 in considering whether the outcome of any fact-finding hearing would affect the decision of the court, and to what extent.