Berrington & Farndale No 2. 2014 FamCA 546

On the first day of a trial a mother asked that the trial be adjourned because of her medical condition.  The mother was asked to provide a full medical report about her condition.  The mother responded by submitting an affidavit containing a brief Medical Certificate signed by a GP who had seen her on two occasions.   The medical certificate stated that the mother had a medical condition and would be unable to attend court proceedings for a month, or to attend work.  On enquiry the doctor stated that the mother had an anxiety disorder involving panic attacks.  The doctor had advised medication on a previous attendance but the mother declined.  The doctor considered that the mother was capable of caring for her child during the critical period, based on information provided by the mother.

The judge noted that the medical report omitted significant information, and was at risk of being unreliable (expert evidence unsatisfactory).  The judge adjourned the case to allow the mother to engage in treatment and placed the child in the care of the father in the interim (therapy for parent).