At pa 4.14 it is said that the following are at the highest end of a spectrum of objective importance:
‘cases where the individual’s life is at stake, or they are at risk of serious physical harm. Also of high importance are cases where the individual’s liberty is at stake and cases where the individual faces intervention from the state in their family affairs, which may result in their children being removed from their care.’
So I wonder what the position will be in respect of enforcement of orders made under the children act? On the face of it these will be outwith the scope of public funding, unless the d.v. test is met. Committal obviously involves potential loss of liberty, and enforcement orders quasi criminal sanctions in the form of community punishment (unpaid work) – the seriousness of which is reflected by the fact that the amending sections of the act were drafted on the basis that the criminal standard of proof would apply. Surely public funding ought to be available for such matters? Often resistance to a contact order may be in the context of alleged domestic violence in which case funding may well be forthcoming for the respondent to the enforcement application if not the applicant, but what happens when a court has determined that allegations are not made out but the mother (it’s usually but not always the mother) continues to resist? No public funding for either party I think.
I wonder if we will get clarification on these issues prior to February when the consultation closes?