Police Disclosure and Family Court Proceedings

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You may be aware that you can request any information an organisation holds about you under the Data Protection Act 2018.   In addition to this, if there has been any police involvement in your life in relation to you, your partner or your child’s parent, you can request disclosure of documents and materials (such as DVD disks) from the police.  This can be especially useful if you are considering the need for Court proceedings.

Whilst allegations of domestic abuse are common in cases in the Family Court, many of these may not have been the subject of any police report or investigation.  However, there are often cases where, for whatever reason, the police have been involved and as a result hold information which may help a Judge in a Family Court to build a picture of the events, and the relationship between the parties, and ultimately make decisions for the family members.

All parties should give early consideration to what material is likely to be held by the police, and may be relevant within the private law proceedings in which they are involved or considering.  If possible, early requests should be made prior to any hearing or application made to the Court in order to assist with the application or case before the Court.  This can help set out your reasoning for your position or application with documentary evidence as to why you have taken the stance you have.  It may also assist in negotiations prior to filing an application, saving the time and cost involved in Court proceedings.

In private law children applications, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) will carry out police checks as part of initial safeguarding enquires ordered by the Court.  However, these checks will not give the level of detail which can be obtained through a disclosure request and also will not be carried out until an application has been issued by the Court, or if an urgent application is made.

Police checks are not only useful in children proceedings, but also for injunctive relief in domestic abuse matters where you may be seeking a non-molestation order or an occupation order.  These checks would not be routinely carried out in these proceedings and so any information you can provide to the Court will assist in your matter.

Each police force has a separate procedure for requesting disclosure, meaning it is not always possible to obtain this information prior to Court proceedings, which is why early legal advice regarding this can be helpful.  Working with multiple local police forces in the South East and London means that IBB Law is fully accustomed to the intricacies of each force’s systems and procedures for applying for this disclosure.  You can download a form detailing the contact details, protocols and procedures for each force.  Alternatively, if you would like to speak with a fee earner regarding the specifics of your matter, we can arrange a fixed fee meeting.  Please call today to enquire on 0345 877 7025.