Lord Justice Peter Jackson:
1. This appeal concerns two children, Gina (11) and Frances (8), as I will call them. They live with their mother, who separated from their father six years ago. Since then, they have seen very little of him, Gina’s last contact being in 2014 and Frances’s in 2016. For this state of affairs the father blames the mother and the court system. HHJ Handley, sitting in the Family Court at Northampton on 2 July 2018, did not agree. At the end of proceedings that had been running continuously since the parents’ separation, he refused the father’s application for orders that the children should live with him or have contact with him and prevented him from bringing further applications without permission for three years. He found that the father himself had become the leading author of what is on any view a great misfortune for these children and their parents. The father now appeals.
2. The parents, now in their 40s, lived together for some years but separated in May 2013, when the mother left the family home with the children and went to her parents’ home. Until then the children, aged just 5 and 2, had enjoyed a good relationship with their father. The mother had been prescribed anti-depressants from the time of Gina’s birth, and she remains on a high dose.
3. In the month of the separation the mother applied for injunctions and for a residence order. She made allegations of domestic abuse against the father, consisting of sexually inappropriate conduct, controlling behaviour, verbal abuse, shouting and swearing at her in front of the children, throwing food at her, kicking the dog and shouting and swearing at the oldest child. The father made partial admissions but said other allegations were exaggerated. He nonetheless did not oppose a non-molestation order and agreed to move out of the home.
4. Since that time there has been uninterrupted litigation about the children and other matters, so much so that the papers before the Judge filled thirteen files. For the purpose of this appeal it is only necessary to chart the main features of the sad history. I shall do so in three stages: May 2013 to July 2015; July 2015 to April 2017; April 2017 to date.https://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed200212