Legality of adult chat as evidence
It would protect the social worker against allegations of inappropriateness or dishonesty (assuming they were indeed appropriate and honest).
But often, parents – including my own clients from time to time – having instinctively grasped the best evidence principle (apparently better than some social workers), struggle then to understand why they are either prevented from gathering their own “best evidence” or from relying upon it.Recordings of children are even more problematic than adult to adult conversations.Children are now often more adept at the use of electronic handheld devices than their parents, and are often wise to their parents recording them on their iphone, or have a habit of finding the hidden camera behind the pot plant.Typically this is about childrens’ reports of what the other parent does or says to them whilst in their care, or about the childrens’ wishes and feelings. But what about recordings of meetings and liasons with professionals such as CAFCASS Officers and social workers? And since there are routinely substantial differences of recall or opinion about who said what in such meetings it is worth considering whether or not this sort of evidence would assist the court where contemporaneous notes or witness recall cannot.Forget arguments between parents, or what the childrens’ wishes *really* are – how often have you dealt with a case where the social workers version of their assessment meetings, interviews or home visit are just incompatible with the parents account? There are lots of reasons why a parent’s understanding, experience or perspective of a meeting might be very different from the professional – they may well not be a “reliable” historian in any forensic sense simply by virtue of the fact that emotions are high and the stakes are high also.