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In the Matter of M (Children)

Frances Heaton QC and Jane Walker acted for the Children’s Guardian in the Matter of M (Children). An Orthodox Jewish father who left the Charedi community to start a new life as a woman has won the right to have her case reviewed in the high court after an earlier ruling that she should have no direct contact with her five children.

Sir James Mumby, President of the Family Division, Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Singh handed down judgment on 20 December.

The judgment states: “The outcome of this appeal is of very great importance to the father, to the mother and the children, and to the ultra-orthodox North Manchester Charedi Jewish community in which the children have always been brought up. But in its potential implications this appeal is of profound significance for the law in general and family law in particular. For on one view it raises the question of how, in evaluating a child’s welfare, the court is to respond to the impact on the child of behaviour, or the fear of behaviour, which is or may be unlawfully discriminatory as involving breaches of Article 14 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or of the Equality Act 2010.”

The case received a large amount of press coverage, including in The Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle.

Read the full judgment here.