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Innovative Approach to Evidence taken in Care Case
In an unusual approach, a mother contesting a local authority care order was permitted to type her answers to written questions in ‘real time’ from the witness box which were read out loud to the Court.
Furthermore, the mother was permitted to listen to white noise through headphones which reportedly minimised the stimuli that could have been distracting or distressing for her, thereby helping her to focus.
This was certainly an innovative approach, as acknowledged by the Judge - His Honour Judge Moradifar. The approach was suggested by the intermediary in the case, Paula Backen who was praised by the Judge.
His Honour Judge Moradifar commented that the ‘imaginative’ approach proved to be ‘highly successful’. He said it ‘enabled the mother to fully participate and to be effectively questioned on the important issues in the case.’ Furthermore ‘The mother needed less frequent breaks and those breaks were of a shorter duration.’
It will be interesting to see whether such an approach will be adopted in future cases, particularly in instances where witnesses are suffering with high levels of anxiety.