- New Enquiries
Can my information be shared between my Care Proceedings and Criminal Proceedings?
- AuthorChelsea Harris
The simple answer is yes. Your information can be disclosed and shared between proceedings governed by the 2013 protocol and good practice model.
In Care Proceedings, there is a form Annex D that the Local Authority will complete and send to the police to inform them of the existence of Care Proceedings and to obtain disclosure of any Criminal Proceedings within 14 days. If Criminal Proceedings have been commenced (or are to be commenced) relating to child abuse then the police will immediately forward a copy of the form to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS will then give priority to making charging decisions in cases involving Care or Family Proceedings. As soon as reasonably practicable the Local Authority are to provide notice to the police of any possible care proceedings where the allegations could constitute a criminal offence where a child is the victim.
Where there are no allegations of child abuse, the Police will forward the form to the unit holding information and will ensure that information is shared with the Local Authority. Information shared should only be what is absolutely necessary and relevant to the central issues of the case.
The police must provide the Local Authority with details of any relevant criminal investigations using the form Annex C within 5 working days. The police will then contact the Local Authority at the point of a charging decision and will provide details of the offence, bail conditions and Court timetables. If there are no charges then the police will provide the Local Authority with information as to why there is no prosecution.
Within the form (Annex C) the police can make requests from the Local Authority for information. When the Local Authority receive the form from the police they will identify and gather relevant material from the Children’s Services and will send across to the police to assist with criminal investigations.
The Local Authority will allow the police access to their files but will not allow access to documents that are prepared solely for the purpose of the Court, unless it is for the purpose of child protection and cannot be used in the criminal proceedings without the permission. If the Police or CPS would like to use the Court documents then they will need to make a formal application to the Family Court for disclosure of the material
The requests made from the police to the Local Authority must be necessary for the pursuit of reasonable lines of enquiry. The form (Annex C) will include timescales for the police to be given access to relevant material however, the presumption is that the Local Authority will deal with any requests as soon as possible to help the criminal investigation.
There can also be linked directions hearings, this will be in more complex cases where the Judge considers that it would be helpful to have joint hearings of the Care and the Criminal proceedings to resolve outstanding issues and to consider how best to deal with both cases..
If you are currently going through Care or Criminal Proceedings, Johnson Astills Solicitors have highly experienced solicitors in both Care and Crime. If you require legal representation in either proceedings or would like any advice in relation to the Local Authority or Police then do not hesitate to visit our Care Team or Crime Team pages on our website or call our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or Loughborough office on 01509 610312 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org