A taxi driver who is separated from his wife has failed in a bid to lift an order which bars him from texting their 12-year-old daughter – despite being able to meet her in person.
The order was made by a judge following private family court hearings and the man, who lives in south-west London, has failed to persuade a Court of Appeal judge to lift it.
Detail of the case emerged at a public at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Thursday.
No-one involved has been identified.
Appeal judge Lord Justice McFarlane was told that the order had been made by Mrs Justice Parker, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
The man, who is allowed to see his daughter twice a month, complained that Mrs Justice Parker’s order was unfair, and the youngster had written a letter to Lord Justice McFarlane asking to be allowed to swap texts.
But Lord Justice McFarlane ruled that the man had no grounds for mounting a challenge.
He said Mrs Justice Parker had been entitled to make the order and had done nothing wrong.
Lord Justice McFarlane said, in a ruling, that there was a long history of ‘dispute and counter dispute’ between the parents.
He said the girl loved both her parents and wanted a relationship with each of them
And he said Mrs Justice Parker had had done her best to ‘grapple’ with the parents’ ‘toing and froing’.
Lord Justice McFarlane said Mrs Justice Parker had made an order which did not permit the man to text his daughter and barred him from permitting or encouraging her to text him.
He said Mrs Justice Parker had also barred the man from providing his daughter with a mobile phone and had refused to ‘compel’ the woman to provide the girl with a phone.
Lord Justice McFarlane said there was a ‘lengthy history’ of ‘unwelcome communications’ being sent to the woman.
Mrs Justice Parker had felt that allowing texting between the man and the girl would ‘simply cause more anxiety’ and had said that ‘previous generations had not expected to be in communication with their parents every day’.
The judge had also thought that the woman would feel anxious about ‘her whereabouts being traced’.
‘I do take it seriously,’ said Lord Justice McFarlane.
‘I see the importance both to the child and the father.’
But he said Mrs Justice Parker was a ‘highly experienced judge’ who had felt that the order was right and had been entitled to reach such a conclusion.
And he added: ‘There are no grounds in my view for saying that she was wrong.’
The man had told Lord Justice McFarlane that he was allowed to see his daughter twice a month – but he said that was not enough.
‘I see her twice a month,’ he had explained.
‘In-between she would like to text me on a daily basis.’
He added: ‘We did communicate and it was fantastic. Mrs Justice Parker said the messages were too affectionate but I cannot see how a father can be too affectionate to his daughter, just by saying he loves her.’
The man had gone on: ‘Twice a month is just not enough.’
Lord Justice McFarlane said the girl had written him a letter which said: ‘I love my dad very much and I really want to be able to text him. Sometimes I miss my dad a lot and I want to keep in touch. The other judge would not allow me to text him and I am hoping that you will.’
Outside court, the man said he planned to contact Mrs Justice Parker and ask her to reconsider.
He said he met his daughter twice a month at a rail station.
‘I just want to stay in touch,’ he said.
‘Texting is the way young people communicate these days. It’s no good saying that in the past children didn’t speak to parents every day. The world has changed. Children have computers and they text.’
He added: ‘I love my daughter very much and all I want to do is keep in touch. I worry about her.’