Carriel & Lendrum 2015 FamCAFC 43

The mother sought to change an order made in 2010 to cease ongoing supervised contact and to allow increased contact with a child aged 10 years.  The earlier order had required the mother to participate in regular tests for illicit substances and alcohol as the mother had a long history of relapses.  The mother had participated in 158 tests for substances.  The requirement for supervised contact had ended by agreement in 2012.

The mother sought to adduce further evidence about changed circumstances.  The mother submitted a report from a treating psychiatrist she had seen each six months about her mental state, where the report stated that the mother had developed new methods for coping with her intense emotions apart from using drugs.  The judge found that this report was not relevant as the report did not address the concern about relapse that was central when final orders had been issued.

The judge considered that the mother’s application reflected her understandable wish to spend more time with her child rather than a consideration of the child’s best interests (parenting style self centred).  The judge found insufficient evidence of changed circumstances.  The judge remained concerned about the risk of relapse.

The appeal court found that no error had been made by the judge.  The appeal was dismissed.