Decision to Return Bullied Child Not Unreasonable

It is a fundamental principle of family law that the courts will always put the welfare of a child first in making any decision about where the child should live.

However, it is also an established legal principle that when a lower court makes a judgment on a matter of fact, that judgment will not normally be overturned on appeal unless it is outside the range of reasonable decisions.

This creates problems when controversial decisions are reached as a result of the courts taking a different view of circumstances from other professionals.

In a recent case, the Court of Appeal was asked to reconsider a decision of the Family Court that a child who had complained of being bullied by his half-brother and cousin and being hit by his mother should be returned to his mother's care, despite a social worker's recommendation that he remain with his father after a contact visit.

Upholding the Family Court's decision, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was not unreasonable on the facts presented.

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