Catherine Piskolti and Katherine Gittins succeed in Fact-Finding Appeal

29th January 2020

Catherine Piskolti and Katherine Gittins  succeed in an appeal of HHJ Tolson’s decision within a fact-finding hearing. Ms Justice Russell held that HHJ Tolson’s approach to the fact-finding hearing was flawed, in particular in relation to allegations of sexual assault, and has made recommendations of further training for Family Judges within this area. This is a welcome recommendation which has been endorsed by the President of the Family Division.The judgment contains important guidance on the approach to be taken within Family Proceedings to allegations of sexual assault, bringing them in line with criminal jurisprudence. The judgment further includes an important reminder that all judges should be cognisant with the relevant practice directions and definitions of all types of domestic abuse. The judgment highlights the need for compliance with practice direction 3A and relevant guidance in relation to vulnerable witnesses.

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