Judge finds social worker assaulted ex-partner but refused to disclose details to regulator

A senior social worker found to have assaulted and abused an ex-partner by a family court judge is at the centre of a High Court fight.

Judge Farooq Ahmed made a series of domestic abuse findings against the man, after a private family court hearing, but refused to give a regulatory body a copy of his ruling.

The man’s ex-partner has challenged that decision and asked a more senior High Court judge to rule that regulator Social Work England should get a copy of Judge Ahmed’s ruling.

Social Work England also says it should be able to see the ruling.

The man disagrees and says Judge Ahmed was right not to hand the ruling to the regulator.

Mrs Justice Knowles is considering arguments at a public appeal hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

She was told, on Wednesday, how Judge Ahmed had concluded that the man had: assaulted his ex-partner and fractured her hand, causing “lasting disability”; behaved in a way that amounted to “gaslighting, control and denigration”; used his temper to “frighten and control” her; “humiliated” her; been “verbally abusive” to her in front of their child; and hit the family dog in front of their child.

The hearing is due to end on Thursday.

Mrs Justice Knowles heard that the man and woman had been involved in a private family court dispute centred on the care of their child.

She said the child involved could not be identified in media reports of the case.

Barrister Charlotte Proudman, who represented the man’s ex-partner, told Mrs Justice Knowles, in a written argument, that the man was a senior social worker who worked with vulnerable adults.

“This case is of significant public interest because it concerns the impact of findings of serious abuse on the employment of a parent who works with vulnerable people where safeguarding is a key issue,” she said.

“As a result of (Judge Ahmed) refusing to disclose the judgment to Social Work England, vulnerable people that the father is entrusted to care for could be at serious risk of harm under the father’s care.”

She added: “How can Social Work England investigate and ensure that the potential risks are managed if the judgment is not disclosed?”

Barrister Jessica Purchase, who represented Social Work England, told Mrs Justice Knowles that Social Work England had received a referral “raising a concern” about the man’s fitness to practise.

Ms Purchase said Judge Ahmed had decided that “disclosure” of the ruling was “likely to be detrimental to the child’s welfare”.

She added: “(Judge Ahmed) failed to take into account the enormous public interest in Social Work England being able to properly protect vulnerable adults and children from social workers who are not fit to practise.”

The man, who represented himself, said Judge Ahmed’s decision should be upheld.

“As the judge who has a full knowledge of the facts and dynamics of this case, I submit that he has not erred in his assessment,” the man said in a written argument.

“As such, the honourable judge is the best-placed authority in determining a judgment upon the sharing of findings and it is this judgment that should be upheld and deferred to in this case.”

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