A sheriff erred in deciding a case at a child welfare hearing while a proof in relation to the issues was ongoing, the Sheriff Appeal Court has ruled in K v K 2018 SAC (Civ) 24.

The sheriff had reduced a father’s contact to nil at a child welfare hearing despite a proof being underway. The court said the sheriff could have ruled on the case without recourse to proof, but having decided a proof was required and heard some evidence, the sheriff had to pronounce a judgment.

The case was categorised by delays and the Appeal Court was critical of ineffectual case management which allowed the case to drift. Agents should be prioritising family cases where children are involved.

Click here to view the judgment.