A mother whose evidence was almost completely disregarded in court by a judge has been allowed to appeal.

Background to the case as set out in the Court of Appeal’s judgment:

  1. The proceedings concern S, who was one year old at the time of the judge’s decision. His parents are first cousins. His mother is a Pakistani national from Pakistan-administered Kashmir; his father is a Pakistani and British national who grew up in England. They contracted an arranged marriage in 2014 and were married in a Nikah ceremony in Pakistan in July 2016, with the father returning to the UK the following month. He visited the mother for three weeks in early 2019. In March 2020, she was granted a spousal visa and moved to England to live with the father and his family. S was born in November 2020.
  2. The mother alleges that from the time of her arrival in the UK the father abused her physically, sexually, emotionally and financially. The father’s case is that the mother has fabricated this account.
  3. On 28 August 2021, the parents travelled to Pakistan, leaving S in the care of his paternal family. The father had purchased a return ticket for himself and a one-way ticket for the mother. While in Pakistan, they stayed with their respective families. On 17 September 2021, the father returned to England alone. On 18 October 2021, unbeknownst to the mother, he sent an email entitled “relationship breakdown” to the Home Office’s dedicated email address, attaching the requisite public statement that the relationship was no longer subsisting and describing the mother as his ‘ex partner’ and himself as S’s ‘full-time carer’. The first time the mother saw this communication was at the fact-finding hearing in February 2022.

There were a total of 41 separate allegations, grouped under 12 main headings, and 7 different types (including stranding, physical abuse and threats of violence, sexual abuse, controlling and coercive behaviour, psychological and emotional abuse, financial abuse and abuse of S). The judge decided the stranding allegations were the only allegations to have been proved.

There is a very good summary of thee case on LexisNexis, an extract of which we’re adding below:

“The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appellant’s appeal from a decision which had accepted the appellant mother’s account of being stranded but had rejected all her other allegations against the father.

The mother alleged that (i) the judge failed to consider the relevance of her finding of abandonment and stranding to the other allegations; (ii) there was a flawed approach to the other evidence and insufficient reasons for those findings; (iii) it was wrong to refuse to adjourn for an intermediary assessment; and (iv) there was a failure to take account of the mother’s vulnerability when assessing her evidence.

The court held, among other things, that perpetration of domestic abuse was an expression of an aspect of a person’s character within a relationship and the fact that a person was capable of being seriously abusive in one way inevitably increased the likelihood of them having been abusive in other ways. 

There was no indication that the judge acknowledged that. Instead, the judge had treated the various limbs of the mother’s allegations as if they had existed in unconnected compartments. The concern of the court was not that the judge should have made more findings against the father but rather that her reasoning did not justify making the mixed findings that she did.”