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Interrogation of draft judgments: Re (Care Proceedings: Fact-Finding) [2023] EWCA Civ 38 - Anisa Kassamali, Temple Garden Chambers

27/02/23. Re (Care Proceedings: Fact-Finding)[2023] EWCA Civ 38 considered the correct approach for parties to take in relation to draft judgments produced by the Court.


The appellant mother appealed against findings of fact made in care proceedings. The appeal was ultimately dismissed, but the Court had concerns about the process leading to judgment.

The chronology of events was as follows. A fact finding hearing began on 7 March 2022. A draft judgment was sent to the parties on 25 May 2022. Written requests for various clarifications were submitted by the parents on 7 June 2022. The final judgment was handed down on 10 August 2022 (which contained seven annexes, including one entitled ‘clarification/amplification’).

Court’s observations

Baker LJ handed down judgment, upholding the first instance decision. However, he raised some concerns about the “prolonged and tortuous process” [37] that followed the fact-finding hearing. He relevantly observed:

“38. First, there was an inordinate delay before the production of the final version of the judgment. It was handed down over 18 weeks after the end of the hearing and 10 weeks after the circulation of the preliminary draft. In the intervening weeks, there were no fewer than six... 

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