Guidance on writing character references for Court by Father John Chadwick

In this short article Father John gives helpful guidance on how to do this, and just as importantly, what not to do.

Father John has shared this advice for anyone who is asked to write a character reference for an individual before the Courts. Father John explained that a reference is legal evidence for the Court and therefore highly important.

Key learning points for me were to ensure I have valid written permission to give a reference and to work with the individual’s legal team, making it clear what I have been approached to do, and never to comment on the matters before the Court, however tempting!  Father John reminded us that it is the role of the Court to decide an outcome having evaluated the case and should not be part of any reference.

Father John advised that it is important to ask the legal team for all information relevant to a reference, and to read such information carefully before writing a reference. He explained that writing without checking could give lead to an unrealistic reference which might suggest to the Court that a defendant was intending to deceive them and may damage the credibility of the person who provided the reference. Father John recommended checking the reference with an appropriate colleague before releasing it and sending the reference to the person who is the subject of the reference with a copy to the individual’s solicitor, both in good time before the required date.

We appreciate this very helpful guidance and express our thanks to Father John, and to all MCT team.

Download guidance for writing character reference for chaplins