Mr Justice Williams has just released a summary of his Judgment in a case of serious abuse and coercive control in CL (Fact Finding : Coercive Control) [2020] EWFC 109

This case concerned the welfare of a young girl aged 1 at the time of the hearing. The matter was listed for a fact-finding hearing. The Court had the benefit of a schedule of allegations, many relying on allegations of abuse by the father against the mother. However, on the eve of the hearing, the mother asserted that all of the allegations that she had made against the father were fabricated under threat by unidentified third parties. The father denied any significant allegations of abuse. The local authority and the Children’s Guardian took the position that the mother’s initial allegations represented the truth and that the threshold based on those allegations was established to its fullest extent.

The Court found:

“The relationship between the 1st and 2nd Respondents from May 2018 was abusive and was characterised by coercive and controlling behaviour by the 2nd Respondent including (i) Controlling her social life – including her contact with her family (ii) Controlling her finances (iii) Monitoring her phone and maintaining surveillance of her movements including with the intention to use information obtained thereby to control her, (iv) Monitoring and seeking to control the 1st Respondent’s movements (v) Recording their sex on occasion non-consensually with the threat that this would be used against the first respondent (vi) aggression (vii) physical assault of the 1st Respondent – including strangulation (viii) pressurising the 1st Respondent to have sex with the 2nd Respondent (ix) threats to go after her family and well as the 1st Respondent if she were to ever go against him.”

It was agreed that while the criteria for the publication of Judgments was made out, there were strong reasons to be concerned about jigsaw identification and this meant that it was not possible to publish even an anonymised version of the Judgment.  For that reason the Court published a summary of the Judgment instead.

Published summaries of this type are rare but were recommended by the ALC and NYAS in their report on the publication of Judgments of October 2021 (led by Dr Julia Brophy), available here.

Martin Downs appeared for the Applicant Local Authority instructed by Venters Solicitors.

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