English Legal Methods



The most authoritative decision is the [1996] AC 563 as it is the House of Lord’s decision. The House of Lord is the highest court in England. The doctrine of judicial precedent states that the decisions of this court are binding on the lower courts. Question 3 [6 marks available in total] What were the facts giving rise to Mr R’s criminal trial and what was the outcome of that trial? Mr R had a relationship with the mother of four children. They gave birth to two children and the other two were from a previous marriage. The father was Mr H, and C was the eldest daughter, who alleged that in September 1993, Mr R had raped her continuously when she was between 7 and 8 years. This continued for over 5 years. Mr R was then charged with rape. He was tried in October 1994. The allegation involved four charges of rape. The main witness in this case was the daughter C. Mr R was consequently acquitted of the charges. Question 4 [6 marks available in total] At the hearing of this case at first instance what, in summary, were the two key conclusions the judge reached in respect of D1’s allegations against Mr R? The judge made the following conclusions. The first substantive issue was whether D1 was sexually abused. The judge averred that D1had proved, in her statement, the fact that there was abuse. Her story was consistent and factual. Mr. R had lied that he had never had an opportunity to be alone with any of the children, which was proved by D1 testimony. The judge felt that that D1’s allegations were true. He felt that the evidence presented by her and her statement in court was true. Mr. R had not rebutted these assertions by his evidence or his behavior in court. He felt that the allegations of abuse by D, which were true were based on presentation of evidence. He believed the evidence tendered by the girl was true. Her statement could also be reasonably suspected to be true Question 5 [4 marks available in total] Summarise the issues certified for Their Lordships’ consideration in this case. The issues before the Lordships are three, and they are as follows. The first issue is the standard of proof, which is to be proved where an allegation has been made that a child will suffer significant harm under the second part of 31(2) (a) of the Children Act. The second issue is in relation to the requirement of proof of sexual abuse, which is the standard of proof being higher than the normal civil standard of balance of probability, but lower than the criminal standard of proof. There is a question as to whether the evidence needed to prove the charge needs to be based on the seriousness of the charge. This means that the more serious the charge, the more evidence one needs to prove their case as opposed to a question of proving on a balance of probability. The final issue is where an allegation is made that a considerable injury is likely to impact on the child. The question raised here is: should one prove the likelihood to suffer harm on a balance of probability or does the presence of a substantial risk suffice instead of a speculative future risk? Question 6 [8 marks available in total] Summarise the submissions made before Their Lordships on behalf of: (a) The Local Authority (3marks) (b) The Guardian Ad Litem (2 marks) (c) The parents (3 marks) Submissions made on behalf of the Local Authority. The counsel submitted that the question of law to be addressed was on the

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