Two women who complained of rape win appeals after family court rulings

The Principal Registry of the Family Division in High Holborn, London, where the divorce hearing for Madonna and Guy Ritchie was heard.
The Principal Registry of the Family Division in High Holborn, London, where the divorce hearing for Madonna and Guy Ritchie was heard.

High Court judges Mrs Justice Judd and Mr Justice Peel have upheld the women's challenges and ordered fresh hearings.

Published

Two women who complained that ex-partners had raped them are to have cases re-heard after challenging rulings by family court judges.

Both have staged successful High Court appeals after family court judges concluded, at separate private hearings, that their complaints could not be upheld.

Two judges based in the Family Division of the High Court in London have upheld the women’s challenges and ordered fresh hearings.

Detail of both cases has emerged in rulings by High Court judges Mrs Justice Judd and Mr Justice Peel after separate public appeal hearings.

Mrs Justice Judd said an important issue in the case she oversaw was the “treatment of vulnerable witnesses” in family court hearings.

She concluded the family court judge who initially considered the case had not put in place “special measures” to help the woman give evidence and had not balanced evidence properly.

Mr Justice Peel concluded that there was merit in the woman’s argument that a family court judge had appeared to have “minimised the seriousness” of her sex abuse allegations.

He also said the judge who first oversaw the case had not considered “the impact” of the woman’s “vulnerability” when she was giving evidence.

Judges said neither of the women could be identified in media reports of the cases.

Both women were represented by Charlotte Proudman, the barrister who represented Conservative MP Kate Griffiths when she became involved in a free speech fight with ex-husband, and former Conservative minister, Andrew Griffiths.

Court of Appeal judges earlier this month said a family court judge’s ruling that Mr Griffiths had raped Ms Griffiths when they were married could be made public.

The ruling had been made on the balance of probabilities and Mr Griffiths denied rape.