Dear Ministry of Justice,
Under the freedom of information act I would like to know the following.
It is my understanding that although hearsay is not admissible in criminal courts it is admissible in family courts. Is this true?
If it is true, is there a statute of limitations that covers how long hearsay can be used for, in other words is there a time limit from when the hearsay was first said to when it can be used?
Also, if an incident occurred that was looked into by the local authority and the police at the time it occurred, no charges were ever filed, no formal statements taken, no cautions etc and the local authority at the said time dropped the incident due to not having enough evidence etc to say that it did or did not happen, can that be used as hearsay in court? Again if yes how many years after the incident can it be used for?
Finally, if a child says something due to being upset by a parent or carer and then later admits that the allegation was false or exaggerated can it be used in court. If the child retracts the statement formally in writing can it be used in family court?