The Court of Appeal has held in Re M (Children) (Disclosure to the Police)  EWCA Civ 1364, that the Re C test for disclosure of material from care proceedings to the police remains good law after 23 years, and in the light of the Human Rights Act 1996, but with the qualification that disclosure must be necessary and proportionate.
The Family Division of the High Court in G v G (Chief Constable of Dorset Police intervening)  EWHC 1100 (Fam) ordered that the service and disclosure of a CAFCASS report be delayed for a week in order to allow an effective police investigation into allegations that the father had sexually abused one of the children. The judgment of 4 May 2018 was delivered in private and Holman J gave leave for an anonymised version to be published one week later, stating that the decision had been made upon the Court “being asked to take a very unusual course” in “a very unusual application”.
Who pays the costs of Special Advocates where closed material procedures are required to consider sensitive police documents in family proceedings? The police, according to Cobb J in Re R (Closed Material Procedure: Special Advocates: Funding) EWHC 1793 (Fam).
In family proceedings where the police are ordered to disclose relevant documents, occasionally the police object to disclosure or inspection of particularly sensitive documents. Where the court deems it necessary, it can invite the Attorney General to appoint Special Advocates to represent the interests of the parties in closed material procedures to consider that sensitive evidence. Special Advocates are appointed by through the Special Advocates’ Support Office (“SASO”), which is part of the Government Legal Department.
Senior Coroners still smarting from being described as holding “a relatively lower judicial office” by Mr Justice Singh in the Norfolk Coroner v AAIB case last month have now been dealt a second blow by Cranston J when he made it very clear in Secretary of State for the Home Dept v Senior Coroner for Surrey  EWHC 3001 (Admin) that not only are Senior Coroners, as a category, not among those able to see sensitive material related to issues of national security, but that the Secretary of State can rely upon the assertion of a general policy not to provide Coroners with such material and so does not have to provide any evidence that disclosure to the particular Coroner will in itself result in a real risk of serious harm to national security.