What you can do

Click on the links to watch the BBC and ITV documentaries.

  1. Watch the BBC film above  ‘Families flee UK to avoid forced adoption’. Inside Out was broadcast on BBC One South East on Monday, 6 October 2014. Rachel Royce reports.!
    Here’s the link to share this: https://forced-adoption.com/#insideout

  2. Click on this link to watch the fabulous ITV documentary “exposure” and please share it!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va1N9r2Vieg    A mother screams in agony as her newborn baby is ripped from her arms………

  3. See the programme on Channel 4 News

    http://www.channel4.com/news/revealed-the-networks-helping-families-flee-social-services

    Click here to open a pdf which you can then print. It shows clearly the defects of the “system” and also the measures needed to reform our family courts and social services all on one page !

    Ian Josephs speaking at the ‘Children Screaming to be Heard’ conference, London April 2016

    https://youtu.be/d8sukVI0UMM

  1. Remember social workers have no power but judges do have it !So you and your parents should make direct applications to the court and never via solicitors or social workers !

———–

YES YOU CAN APPEAL ! (Usually within 21 days but sometimes longer if your lawyers wrongly told you that you could not appeal) or ask for permission to appeal.

You can always apply for contact.Also you can apply to discharge a care order,or to revoke an adoption placement (after a year ).That would not be  an appeal but a request for a new hearing due to changed circumstances.

Please note well,you can appeal(or apply for permission to appeal) any lower court decision,whether it be a magistrates court or county court,or even crown court ! Anyone who tells you differently is a barefaced liar !

Remember that since April 2014
the new section 51A of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, makes provision for applications for contact AFTER an adoption order has been made.

IF YOU APPLY FOR CONTACT THAT IS ALSO A GOOD WAY TO FIND OUT IF YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN ADOPTED OR NOT !

HAS YOUR CHILD BEEN ABUSED OR HURT IN CARE ,? Well you can apply for an emergency protection orderhttp:

The law is very clear. Under S.44 of The Children Act 1989, ANY PERSON who believes that a child is at risk can apply for an EPO.
An Emergency Protection Order is usually applied for when there are reasonable grounds to believe that there may be an immediate risk of significant harm to a child.
If you are a parent who believes their child is at risk of imminent harm whilst in the care of the State

This very helpful slide show which explains The Children Act 1989 very nicely, and offers some key points which are incredibly useful which includes information about Emergency Protection Orders. The slide was prepared by Nathan Loynes, programme manager for Child and Family Studies at the University Of Leeds.
Nathan has produced a series of slide shows (124 of them) which have been prepared for students at the university, but they also work as an excellent resource for families going through child protection proceedings. The slide shows touch upon a range of topics, and highlight how the system works. Presentations which caught our eye include:
• Parental Capacity To Change
• Significant Harm and;
• Professional Integrity
As for EPOs, The Children Act gives parents the power to protect their children through them, as long as the danger is imminent. In fact, the Act makes provision for any person to apply, which includes parents and family members, first, with local authorities and ‘authorised persons’ listed after.
So, don’t be shy. The law is there to help you, don’t be afraid to use it.!

 

Judges and lawyers deliberately deceive parents !

If at the conclusion of the case the family court  judge as says the usual “I refuse leave to appeal”that is not final at all though both the judge and your lawyers would like you to think it is .They rarely tell parents the truthful position and later judges remark that the parent FAILED TO APPEAL as though this mean’t they accepted the loss of their children. Do not hesitate therefore to ignore the judge’s initial refusal. Just go back to the court and apply for an oral hearing asking for permission to appeal !

Go to the court and ask for the correct form for your appeal.Do not take it home ,just fill it in while you are there and ask the staff to explain the meaning of any question or anything else you do not understand.Do not delay or they may say you are out of time !Get a receipt when you leave your appeal form with the court staff.

Things to consider before appealing

In most cases you will need a judge’s permission to appeal – permission to appeal will only be given if your appeal has a real prospect of succeeding or there is some other compelling reason for the appeal to be heard. (FPR 30.3)

In considering whether to seek permission to appeal, and in completing the appellant’s notice (FP161), please remember:

  1. you must ensure that your appeal lies to the Family Division of the High Court, rather than to another court. Please refer to the leaflet ‘Routes of Appeal’ (FP201) for guidance. The acceptance by the Family Division Appeals Office of an appellant’s notice does not mean that the High Court accepts jurisdiction in the case.

If you can prove to the court staff that you are “on benefits” you should not have to pay a penny !!

Human Rights Act  rule 29.5(2) and Practice Direction 30A Appeals for litigants in person who were unrepresented at the lower court:

Sometimes you will need the judgement so that you can appeal against it and nobody will give it to you ;It is expensive to obtain transcripts so you are often better off quoting the rule above and proceeding as follows :-

.Rule 5.23 states, “Advocates’ notes of judgments where the appellant is unrepresented – When the appellant was unrepresented in the lower court it is the duty of any advocate for the respondent to make the advocate’s note of judgment promptly available, free of charge to the appellant where there is no officially recorded judgment or if the court so directs.”

 

 

 

Welcome to the Personal Support Unit Website  www.thepsu.org   tel:-  0207 947 7701

The PSU is an independent charity, based in the main building at the Royal Courts of Justice in Strand, London. The PSU provides non-legal advice, help, information and support to litigants in person and to any member of the public attending at the Royal Courts of Justice who may need help or assistance. We also operate at the Principal Registry of the Family Division at First Avenue House, High Holborn and at Wandsworth County Court.

Are you facing court without a lawyer? We can help at all stages of the court process.

What we do

What we do

We are a charity based in the court building. Volunteers provide free support in the civil and family courts and some tribunals, with issues such as contact with children, divorce, eviction and money claims.

.

 PSU volunteers can……

  • listen to you, and provide information and support
  • help you find out if you can get free legal advice
  • discuss settling issues without going to court
  • explain how the court works
  • help you fill in court forms and organise court papers
  • help you to plan what you want to say in court
  • go into court with you, take notes and help afterwards
  • provide details of other specialist agencies

Please note that we cannot give legal advice.

How to get help

Visit your local PSU. We can often help right away, or you can book an appointment. View our locations for your local PSU’s contact and location information.

There are now PSU branches all over the country.See our website .http//www.thepsu.org

We have several PSU offices in various locations across the UK.Click on the region nearest to you to obtain the postal address,phone number and email address!

Birmingham

Bournemouth

Bristol

Cardiff

Chelmsford

Chester

Exeter

Leeds

Liverpool

London

Manchester

Newcastle

Newport

Nottingham

Preston

Sheffield

 

FINDING THE CORRECT FORM

http://www.familylaw.co.uk/system/uploads/attachments/0000/2078/CB1_1108.pdf

The above link gives you official guidance on how to make an application concerning children in care or on the way to being adopted.Section F shows you how to pick the correct form but read section D first to CONFIRM your specific relationship to the child in question.(mother,father,grandparent,etc).

F – The forms and leaflets you need

The below table shows which forms you must use to make your application. All forms and leaflets can be found at your local family court, or can be downloaded from our website http://www.hmcourt-service.gov.uk.

If you are applying for an order related to enforcement of an existing contact order you should refer to leaflet CB5.

If you are applying for a Special Guardianship Order you should refer to leaflet CB4.

Application type Forms needed
Residence Order C100
Contact Order C100
Prohibited Steps Order C100
Specific Issue Order C100
Application for an order for financial relief (s.15) C1+ C10 + C10A
Variation of an order for financial relief C1+ C10 + C10A
Discharge of an order for financial relief C1+ C10 + C10A
Appointment of a guardian C1
Discharge of appointment of a guardian C1
Parental responsibility order (s.4) C1
Step-parental responsibility order (s.4A) C1
Discharge of a parental/step-parental responsibility order C1
For an order in existing proceedings C2
For permission to make an application (see section C) C2
To be joined as a party in existing proceedings (for example if you have received a C6A Notice of Proceedings) C2

The process is the same if you want to apply for a contact order,appeal against or oppose the renewal of an interim care order,obtain a residence order or special guardianship,oppose an order for adoption, get an adoption placement revoked(one year later) a care order discharged, or even an order to enforce a judgement given by the court ; you must ask the staff IN THE SAME COURT WHERE YOU APPEARED PREVIOUSLY for the correct form ,fill it in, then hand it in and get a receipt !

 

Procedure to apply for a discharge of the care order

You will apply on Form C110A with copies for each respondent, which is every person you think has parental responsibility for the child under a child arrangements order before the care order was granted, the child, the parties to the original care proceedings. Other people must be given notice of the proceedings, including the LA who is providing accommodation for the child and anyone who is caring for the child at the time you make the application.

See also the FPR Practice Direction 5A and 12A.

On filing your application with the court, the Public Law Outline timetable starts running so the application must be completed in 26 weeks.

 

Recent Cases on discharging a care order

For a recent authority when the court looked at discharging a care order see X (Discharge of care order) [2014]. The Judge was very concerned in this case by the failures of the LA. The court emphasised that it was important to look at the question of whether or not it was proportionate for a care order to continue. Suesspiciousminds has commented on this case here.

 

Particular problems for litigants in person

Appealing as a litigant in person

It is difficult to get public funding to make an appeal and some people may have to consider making an application without a lawyer.  You may have to pay a fee to get the court to issue your application – there is information about this on the government website.

Also see their leaflet – Court and Tribunal Fees – Do I have to pay them?. You don’t have to pay if you are receiving the following benefits:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit with gross annual earnings of less than £6,000
  • State Pension Credit – Guarantee Credit
  • Scottish Civil Legal Aid (not Advice and Assistance or Advice by Way of Representation)

 

The courts are alive to the difficulties this may cause – see the case of  R (a Child) [2014]

6. This case is illustrative of an increasing problem faced by this court. More and more litigants appear in front of us in person. Where, as here, the appellant is unrepresented, this requires all those involved in the appeal process to take on burdens that they would not normally have to bear. The court office finds itself having to attempt to make sure that the parties to the litigation are notified of the appeal because litigants in person do not always know who should be served; the only respondent named by M here was LA. The bundles that the court requires in order to determine the appeal are often not provided by the litigant, or are incomplete, and proper papers have to be assembled by the court, not infrequently at the request of the judges allocated to hear the case when they embark upon their preparation for the hearing just days before it is due to start. The grounds of appeal that can properly be advanced have to be identified by the judge hearing the permission application and the arguments in support of them may have to be pinpointed by the court hearing the appeal.

7. The court has no extra resources to respond to these added challenges. It needs to be understood that the file from the lower court is not available to the appeal court which is dependent on the papers supplied for the appeal by the parties. If it is to be able to deal properly with an appeal in care proceedings, and to do so speedily (as most local authorities require so that undue delay is avoided for the children who are the subject of the proceedings), then local authorities will have to expect to assist by ensuring that the court is provided with appeal bundles. Three copies of the appeal bundles are normally required, unless the appeal is ordered to be heard by two judges in which case only two copies need be supplied. The bundles will often have to include the documentation that was available to the court below, although there can be appeals in which the issue is so discrete that a more limited selection of papers will suffice. It is so frequently the case that the papers supplied by the appellant are deficient that it should be standard practice for the local authority to take steps itself, well in advance of the hearing, to consider the appellant’s proposed bundle and, if it is deficient or apparently non-existent, to contact the court to see whether it is necessary to supply alternative or supplementary bundles.

If they refuse or are unpleasant,report them to the judge, and find out the correct form for yourself via the link above .Sections D and then F , ARE IN SIMPLE ENGLISH AND WILL EASILY GUIDE YOU;Then download the one that suits your case .

I repeat ” If you still cannot locate the form you need,you must ask the staff for the correct form fill it in, then hand it in and get a receipt ! The staff in the court are paid to explain anything on the form you do not understand but cannot give legal advice or tell you what to write on the form as that is your case! Do NOT take the form home ! Go to the court in the morning and stay all day if necessary until the form is completed , you have handed it in and got a receipt.

This leaflet will help you if you want to appeal against the decision. It will tell you:

  1. what to consider before you appeal;
  2. what you need to make an appeal; and
  3. what to expect from the appeals process.

 

You can find more information about making an appeal in the guidance notes that come with the appellant’s notice forms N161, N161A, N164, FP161 or FP161A.

You can get a copy of the forms and notes for guidance (including for the Court of Appeal) at http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk

HOME SCHOOLING,?

Contact Education Otherwise

 They can give you information about home schooling

WHAT YOU MUST DO AND WHAT YOU MUST NOT DO ETC !

Contact details for all EO postholders appear on the ‘Contact’ page – but if you need us in a hurry, here are our two main numbers:

  • Helpline: 0845 478 6345
  • Media: 08445 867548

For all general enquiries about home education and starting to home educate, please call the Helpline in the first instance. The lines are staffed entirely by volunteers, who may sometimes not be available when you call. Please leave a message, and we will call you back as soon as possible.

 

SACKING YOUR SOLICITOR AND YOUR BARRISTER !

Most solicitors and barristers in the family courts are PROFESSIONAL LOSERS and you are better off without them.Usually they are there just to GAG you (nobody else can do that,not even the judge !) to make sure you say nothing to upset social workers , cannot present your case,  to make sure that you lose ,and to make sure they stay on good terms with the local authority from whom they get a lot of work and with the legal establishment who will  approve nearly every social service victory !  !Sometimes they even tell parents the disgusting lie that they must have two solicitors and often two barristers as well (2 useless lawyers attack mother and the other two attack father and all get very well paid for it !)  They then agree with everything social workers demand , continuing  to attack each parent in turn so as to prove both parents unfit and then the children are gone……..Even if you are scared of courts ,of speaking in front of people and know nothing of law or arguments you are still better on your own than with an enemy sitting next to you making sure you lose;Yes that is what your lawyesr do as they nearly all work a lot with social services.

Extract from a recent case re Gloucester Council

In a statement filed the day before a hearing on 14 July at which the child was reunited with its mother, the guardian appointed to represent the child’s interests in court said she was “deeply saddened by the behaviour of this local authority towards the child and towards this vulnerable young mother”.

It is expected that the guardian will issue an application on behalf of the child for damages under the Human Rights Act.

JUDGE Wildblood pointed out that the multiple mistakes made by the local authority came to light only because the mother, without any entitlement to legal aid at that point, made her own application to the court to have her child returned. “The very basis of the original care proceedings was that the mother is an emotionally fragile and socially vulnerable woman,” he said. “Therefore, for her to have faced the issues that arose on her own is manifestly unsatisfactory.”

MOST OF THE PARENTS WHO DO WIN ARE THOSE FEW WHO REPRESENT THEMSELVES ! See  typical letters below from  successful parents !

Dear Ian,

Just to update you on Thursday’s events in court.

Via my son’s barrister, I requested permission to speak before the judge made his judgement via my sons barrister and this was granted.

I read the statement you had written word for word and you could have heard a pin drop in the court room. To my surprise, the judge allowed me to continue despite his face looking rather aghast. I then asked the judge to give me a valid reason, other than being out of time with my application, as to why he dismissed me as a potential guardian. He had no answer and could only refer me back to the written judgement to find the answer. I told him that I did read the judgement and could find no valid reason other than the aforementioned. I put it to him that he had broken the law regarding the process followed do date (failing to consider leaving the child with a family member before instructing adoption). As for being out of time as a reason, this was nonsense as my application was date stamped as IN time. To summarise, in his summing up, he asked all of the barristers if any of them would like to appeal; I think my point was taken on board.

My son’s barrister is writting an advice letter to the judge regarding an appeal. Meanwhile, I have completed all of the relevant forms regarding my application for special guardianship. We now have 21 days  to get all of the forms submitted.

Thank you for the wonderful statement you wrote for me to use in the court. It really did shake the court up. My son’s barrister said that the statement was marvelous and every word of it was true. I didn’t mention where it had come from. She also informed me that all of the advocates in the case thought that the judge would let me continue with my original assessment. I will keep you informed on the case as it proceeds.

If there is any further advice you would like to pass my way, I would be grateful.

Once again, thank you so much for your guidance and help, you don’t know how much it is appreciated.

Kind regards,

Susan .

 

Hi Ian, my name is Sophie and you may remember I have emailed you in a few occasions since January regarding my daughters and NAI. I took your advice and represented myself. I did have a solicitor in court however her role was only to go through legal things I did not understand. To cut a long story short, I kept on fighting and fighting and our daughters have now been home with us for three weeks. On the day of the final hearing, the judge told the LA’s lawyer to sit down and be quiet and said that we have shown ourselves to be exemplary parents  to our daughters and he wants no further social work intervention. As you can imagine we are delighted at the outcome. I just wanted to thank you for your help and advice. Kind regards, Sophie

Hi Ian,

Firstly, my sincere thanks for all the help and advice you have given me, and for the statement you so kindly wrote.Secondly, i wanted to let you know what happened in court and update you on our current situation.So…

On my way to court, on Tuesday, I received a call from the solicitor I spoke to whilst under duress from Social Services, and she said she could not get there but had asked a barrister to represent me. I said I intended to represent myself, but out of courtesy, i met with the barrister, showed her my statement and discussed the situation. In the end, she did speak for me, but used 99% of what was in the statement (she changed some of the wording but not the meaning) and we successfully won against social services when they requested an interim care order.

IF YOU DON’T SPEAK IN PERSON YOU NEARLY ALWAYS LOSE 

If your solicitor or barrister refuses to let you speak freely (allows you only to answer questions and not say what you want to say)  in court or does not let you speak at all ,or in worst cases tells you to wait in a witness room as he/she will speak for you ,WHAT CAN YOU DO?? The only answer is to” Represent yourself !”.However little you know about laws and courts you will always be better off without an enemy in your camp who does know the law and is there to make sure you lose !

 To represent yourself sack your solicitor and your barrister in writing .If you do not do this the court will usually send all future correspondence and sometimes vital statements of evidence to your solicitor even though you have told all concerned that you wish to represent yourself.

NO SPECIAL FORM NEEDED :-WRITE ON PLAIN PAPER BUT PUT YOUR CASE NUMBER

Just,write the following sentence”I no longer wish a solicitor or barrister to act for me as I now wish to represent myself.

Signed…… Date……

Case number……

Send this recorded delivery to the court (the court clerk) ,to your solicitor,and to the local authority legal dept.(address should be the town hall,municipal buildings or wherever the Council meet but phone the Council to make sure)

REPRESENTING YOURSELF:- Remember if English is not your first language you have the right to have an interpreter always with you in court

If you have never attended a court before; these 3 videos by barrister LUCY REED explain exceptionally clearly ,how to prepare for court ,what happens there, how to present your evidence and how to ask questions of “opposition witnesses”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgAVMahol7Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdjYtbOVS-Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VP1yXWgtsI

The Family Justice Council has funded a short film for litigants in person in the family courts. The film is accessible on the advicenow website.

The  film looks at how an individual without a lawyer should represent him or herself in court about a family problem. The film looks at the questions people who have represented themselves have said they worried about most and shows simple tips for presenting their case. The film is here.If the judge asks you why you have no legal team or why you insist on representing yourself you should answer as follows whenever applicable:-

1:- My solicitor/barrister refused to accept my instructions to oppose the demands of the local authority.

or2:-My solicitor/barrister refused to let me speak in court

or 3:-My solicitor/barrister allowed me to answer questions in court but refused to allow me to put the points to the judge that I considered the most important.

or4:- My solicitor/barrister refused to allow me to call either witnesses from my family or experts of my choosing who were vital to my case.

or5:- My solicitor /barrister ordered me to admit to things I had not done saying that would “help me get my children back” but I did not wish to commit perjury even when ordered to do so by my own lawyers.

Don’t feel alone ! A McKenzie friend can sit with you !

If you have a good friend you can trust you can nominate that person as your McKENZIE FRIEND who will normally not speak in court but will be allowed to sit next to you in court ,advise you quietly ,take notes and remind you of points to make and questions you can ask social workers ! You should write to the court first to inform them with a short cv to say the person  knows how courts proceed and is capable of giving you moral support and good advice !The friend you choose does NOT have to have any qualifications except for a calm mind and common sense and to agree with you before the court what you will say and how your friend will fit in with what you want to get across to the judge. !

Remember that I advise a trusted FRIEND not a scammer who wants your money,will stop you speaking,(so the judge approves of them !) and will simply agree with the “SS” ! There are too many “Professional” McKenzie friends who are simply after your CASH!! Never pay anyone unless they can prove to you that they have already won several cases against the “SS” and recovered children for parents. Otherwise never pay McKenzie friends or family court lawyers  who will gag you in court and agree to all the “SS” demands !!

How to conduct an appeal:-

You must show points of law where the learned judge erred; not rambling accounts of past experiences !

Barristers representing parents usually agree with interim care orders so parents lose their children because as L;J Thorpe states “the courts are so prejudiced thereafter”

Even when parents represent themselves (but without sound advice)  they tend to talk about how people felt,how they behaved and how angry , cruel,or,untruthful they were.

You need to show either

1:- That circumstances have changed for the better since the previous decision; (eg no longer with a violent Partner,no longer dependent on drugs or alcohol,cured of depression or other condition that could adversely affect children etc)

or 2:-That the judge made a mistake in law  (eg did not consider kinship care,made sexist or racist or simply very impolite  remarks about you without justification,did not demonstrate that adoption really was a last resort in your case because the judge neglected to show that all alternative solutions were not possible etc.)

In re P (A child) 2016

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2016/3.html

The Court of Appeal conclude that a Judge who made a Placement Order (thus authorising a child to be placed for adoption) had not conducted a sufficiently robust analysis of the relative merits of the placement options before making that decision.  The Judge had set out in the judgment what he was required to do, but the Court of Appeal say that he didn’t actually do it.

or 3:- That the previous hearing was unfair to you.(eg that you were not informed of the hearing,that you were not allowed to speak yourself , that your solicitor agreed to care orser or adoption against your instructions, you were not allowed to call witnesses to court such as your doctor,your children, your extended family,or even your new Partner,that you were wrongly informed that you could not appeal and only now have found out that you have the right to ask for an oral hearing asking permission to appeal.that you live a long way from the court and had no Financial means to make the return journey three or more  times for a hearing of three days or more, etc )

WHAT TO SAY IN COURT:-

Remember when you go to court that your object is to WIN the case and get your children back home with you !  You can only do this if you can show the judge that the children will be safe from harm and will be loved if they are left with you !Don’t waste time and the goodwill of the judge by attacking horrible social workers for your own satisfaction.Even if you could prove the social worker was a murderer and the guardian a child abuser that would not help you to get your children back ! It would just mean that these guilty parties would either be arrested or more likely transferred to another area and replaced by others nearly as bad .

You must concentrate on proving that you are a good parent and that all allegations against you are false if you want to win your kids back instead of losing them like most people do in the family courts; To do this try and establish that you and your spouse/partner(when applicable)  ,have no criminal record,no problems with drugs or alcohol,no learning difficulties,no mental problems,no ongoing domestic violence ,and a suitable home where the children can live.This will serve you better than any complaints about social workers or the courts !

Never explain your actions unless forced to do so by direct questions in court.If for example you are asked “did you go to London yesterday?” Reply simply “yes” if that was indeed the case .Never blurt out why you went,when you went,or more importantly what happened when you went as you may by doing this  give your enemies fresh information they can use against you. A simple yes,no,I don’t know,I don’t remember,answer most questions and a simple time, date or name can often answer the rest.Explanations usually make you sound worse not better ;so avoid them !Be the opposite in court of what the social workers say you are !If they say you are aggressive act timid ;and if they say you are too shy and withdrawn be a bit aggressive ! If the police ask to interview you about the way you look after your children you have the right to remain silent and I advise you to do so or to say “no comment” in response to their questions.Remember to stress that your children miss you NOT that you miss your children. It is your kid’s needs that must come first NOT your own !

CROSS EXAMINATION

You must ask questions and NEVER make speeches in cross examination.The witnesses will say what they want to say and you should note anything that is not true asking them “what evidence have you for that?Why do you say such a thing when you know it is not true? When did you see me ever harm my children?Can you read the future?If not how can you predict that my children will suffer future harm?

Those are the sort of questions to ask.

MOST IMPORTANT:- If your child (or children) is threatened with adoption, or fostercare always say that the child should be given a chance to live with its loving parents under a supervision order.Remember also that the “SS” are your enemies as once they get to court their object is to WIN (like all who go to court) and they will try every trick in the book to do so including approaching you before the court starts with “friendly advice cleverly designed to make sure you lose and they win ! Take no notice of anything they tell you but by all means listen to their plans !

 In court, above all be brief !Your two special words in court when questioned by SS lawyers (or by the SS at case meetings or by therapists,psychologists etc) must be YES and NO.If you are pressed to explain further, do not elaborate or try to explain your answers with more than 9 or 10 words as only things you let slip that can count against you will be noted and anything favourable will be discarded and forgotten !Never think that if you “admit” some small fault that it will make your story more credible.It will not ,it will simply help the SS to keep your children so admit NOTHING voluntarily;keep firm in the simple and forceful assertion that the children need love and care and you are the best person to give it! Above all stress that THEY are the victims of SS abuse not you,as it is their welfare that is paramount not your’s!

Before the court  hearing you must file a statement because that is the evidence you need to put as “grounds” in your application and also what you should read out in court.

PLEASE CORRECT THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT TO SUIT YOUR PARTICULAR CASE

;THEN READ IT ALOUD TO THE COURT !

STATEMENT

Orders contemplating non-consensual adoption – care orders with a plan for adoption, placement orders and adoption orders – are “a very extreme thing, a last resort”, only to be made where “nothing else will do”, where “no other course is possible in [the child’s] interests”, they are “the most extreme option”, a “last resort – when all else fails” –Sir James Munby President of the family courts) in Re B:

There is no good reason why my baby/child/ children should not be returned to me or a member of my family under a supervision order and I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THE COURT TO ORDER THIS ACCORDING TO THE LAW;

1:-I have never neglected or abused my baby/child/children

Quote the case below ONLY if there is an unexplained injury to your child..

Judgement:IMPORTANT !!

UNEXPLAINED INJURY NOT SUFFICIENT TO INCRIMINATE PARENTS

http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed146049   = a recent case plus the following:-

M (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1580

Appeal against fact-finding where the judge had found that one of the parents had caused injury to the child and the other had failed to protect, but could not say which parent had caused the injuries. The child was taken to the GP and then to hospital by the mother. She had raised concerns about the bruising which, she stated, must have been caused by the father. There was significant bruising to the child’s left forearm, further bruising to the right are am the right thigh.
The bruises, the experts all agreed, were in unusual places for a baby to be bruised, certainly in the day-to-day care of the baby. The experts, however, could not come to an agreement as to how the bruises might come about. Swaddling, thrashing in the bath and being trapped by the bars of the cot were all discounted. The judge found that the injuries had been caused by pressure from an object imposed on the baby.
It was further determined that the parent who failed to protect would have been aware of the pain and discomfort of the child, given the severity of the bruising. Also, the house was such that the baby’s distress would have been audible throughout.
The appeal was brought by both parents. The mother argued that a lack of reasoning in the argument that the parents failed to protect led to the judge misdirecting herself as to who caused the injuries.
The father’s appeal criticised the judge’s approach and that the lack of parental care was the reason given by the experts for their conclusion that these were non-accidental injuries.
Essentially, the judge found that, due to the experts being unable to give an explanation, reasonable or unreasonable, for the cause of the injuries, they must have been non-accidental.
Ward LJ giving the judgment for the court stated: “[The expert’s opinion] was the effect of the judge’s view of the case: that absent a parental explanation, there was no satisfactory benign explanation, ergo there must be a malevolent explanation. And it is that leap which troubles me. It does not seem to me that the conclusion necessarily follows unless, wrongly, the burden of proof has been reversed, and the parents are being required to satisfy the court that it is not a non-accidental injury”.

Couple who were under investigation for nine months when social services took their three month old baby are finally reunited with her after proving she has a rare condition that causes bruising 

       

Fractures believed to be child abuse may be metabolic bone disease

 Endocrine Today, June 2011

Pediatric Academic Societies’ Annual Meeting 2011

“Classic metaphyseal lesions, posterior rib fractures and fractures in different stages of healing are thought to be pathognomonic for child abuse,” researchers wrote. “However, we believe these findings can also be seen in metabolic bone disease of infancy.”

To investigate this theory, a radiologist reviewed X-rays of 63 infants with multiple unexplained fractures for features of metabolic bone disease; their fractures were originally considered child abuse. The researchers also searched the patients’ medical charts for the following factors that predispose children to metabolic bone disease: vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy and infancy; decreased fetal bone loading, including intrauterine confinement, malpresentation and maternal use of drugs that cause fetal immobilization; gestational diabetes; and use of drugs that decrease calcium absorption, such as acid-lowering drugs.

Results revealed that, on average, infants presented with fractures at 12.5 weeks of age, with each infant experiencing an average of nine fractures. The researchers identified 171 classical metaphyseal lesions in 42 infants and multiple rib fractures (≥4) in 29 infants. Although the researchers suspected epiphyseal separations in 6% of classical metaphyseal lesions, the majority were clinically silent and healed without callus or periosteal reaction.

X-ray images revealed that features of metabolic bone disease were present in all infants, the researchers said. Seventy-three percent of the pregnancies had evidence of fetal immobilization. Data showed that 52% of the infants tested and 87% of their mothers had abnormally low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. Thirteen percent of mothers also had gestational diabetes. The researchers noted that acid-lowering drugs were used by 14% of mothers during pregnancy and in 18% of the infants. Decreased fetal bone loading also occurred during 43% of pregnancies.

These results suggest that physicians should consider metabolic bone disease when encountering infants with multiple fractures, according to the researchers.

“Careful review of the X-rays with attention to the predisposing factors that can impair fetal and infant bone mineralization is critical to avoid an erroneous diagnosis of child abuse,” they wrote. “We do not believe that most [classical metaphyseal lesions] are fractures, but rather are regions of non-mineralized osteoid in healing [metabolic bone disease in infancy].”

2:-I have no criminal record (Most crimes are wiped clean from police records after periods varying from 6 months to 10 years depending on the crime ) ,and I have never been charged with a serious crime.

 OMIT THIS PARA IF YOU HAVE NO CRIMINAL RECORD:-Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, Section 139 This came into force on 10th March 2014 and significantly reduce active conviction times. The changes are ‘retrospective’ and apply to offences before and after this time.If a person has a SOPO, the ministry of justice class this as an active criminal conviction. Therefore as a parent had it, his convictions were spent but his SOPO was keeping him from ticking the ‘no’ box on job applications. So 5 years after conviction he used the Sexual Offences Act 2003, Section 108, (6) to apply to discharge his SOPO meaning at that point . He was successful.

3:-I have no problems with alcohol

4:-I have no problems with drugs.

5:-I have no mental problems, or learning difficulties.Any so called risks from allegations that I do have such problems or difficulties are minmal compared with the far greater risk of putting children into State care where nearly half end up in prison or as prostitutes.

IMPORTANT  TO GET A SECOND EXPERT OPINION BECAUSE :-

New rulings have been made by the U.K. courts in criminal and civil cases involving the deaths of children which are that,  (Lord Justice Judge – Angela Cannings Appeal Hearing against conviction 2004),

“in cases like the present, if the outcome of the trial depends exclusively or almost exclusively on a serious disagreement between distinguished and reputable experts, it will often be unwise, and therefore unsafe, to proceed”.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2016/2149.html   SHOWS HOW UNRELIABLE SOME “EXPERTS” CAN BE

BOTH PARENTS HAVE LEARNING DIFFICULTIES BUT…………………………

Council pays £12,000 damages for removal of child

Parents’ Articles 6 and 8 rights breached

In Re H (A Child: Breach of Convention Rights: Damages) [2014] EWFC 38 HHJ Clifford Bellamy, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, has awarded damages of £12,000 against Leicester City Council for breaches of the ECHR Articles 6 and 8 rights of the parents whose only child was taken into care.

The breaches arose in care proceedings brought by the local authority in April, 2014 in respect of a little girl, H.  H is now aged 17 months.  Both parents have learning disabilities. At the final hearing before HHJ Bellamy all parties agreed that the appropriate welfare outcome was that there should be a supervision order for a period of 12 months.

The parents asserted that the way the local authority had dealt with the case before proceedings were issued gave rise to a breach of their rights under Articles 6 and 8. They sought relief in the form of declarations and damages. The local authority accepted that by its conduct it had breached the parents Article 6 and Article 8 rights. It agreed to most of the declarations sought by the parents but did not agree that the parents were entitled to damages and submitted that if they were an appropriate amount would be £1,000 for each parent.

HHJ Bellamy found:

“H is these parents’ first child. Whilst it may be the case that had the local authority issued care proceedings soon after H was born an interim care order would have been made, the fact is that proceedings were not commenced promptly. They were not issued until shortly before H’s first birthday. It was not until June 2014 that these parents eventually managed to secure the return of their daughter to their care, exactly a year after she was placed with Mr and Mrs B. Whilst it is true that during that year the parents were having regular contact, supervised contact at a local authority contact centre is far removed from the joys of fulltime, unsupervised care of one’s own child. The residential assessment which began in June 2014 could have begun a year earlier. The cognitive assessment of the parents, not finally obtained until May 2014, could have been obtained months earlier. Unlike the parents in Coventry City Council v C, B, C and CH [2013] 2 FLR 987 these parents’ have suffered a loss of time with their daughter which was both unnecessarily lengthy and deeply distressing.”

He added:

“In my judgment the nature and extent of the poor practice admitted by the local authority is such that an adverse impact on these parents was inevitable. They would have needed great fortitude to be able to take such an experience in their stride. Far from having great fortitude it is clear that these are vulnerable learning disabled parents who had no-one to speak up for them.”

Having considered a number of authorities as examples of awards made in other cases, the judge determined that there were too few to be able to be confident that they indicate the broad parameters for making an assessment. He concluded that “an award of damages of £6,000 for each parent would achieve ‘just satisfaction’ in all the circumstances of this case.”

6:-I have never been involved in incidents of domestic violence .

or Quote the case below if there has been domestic violence in the family

Domestic Violence not necessarily a sufficient reason to remove a child

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2014/B110.html

This is a set of care proceedings heard in Manchester County Court, but it raises some important issues of wider importance.

It was a case in which the Local Authority obtained an Emergency Protection Order removing IMA in August 2013, and after that Interim Care Orders sanctioning IMA remaining in foster care, up until the final hearing, which took place in August 2014 a year after the initial removal.

The Local Authority had been seeking a plan of adoption, supported by the Guardian, but this had changed to permanent placement with a relative. It is of note that the plan of adoption had been supported by the Agency Decision Makers (whose job it is to assess separately to social workers whether the circumstances of an individual case mean that adoption is the right plan)

The Judge at final hearing found that the threshold criteria were not made out, and thus the child would be going home and no statutory orders would be made.

The threshold criteria was based on the risk of the child being exposed to domestic violence (which is, on the revised wording of the Children Act 1989 a matter which on its own is capable of meeting threshold). That had two aspects really (i) Was father a risk of violence or violent behaviour and (ii) was the child in mother’s care going to be exposed to the father.

The fact that the Judge found that threshold was not met therefore was significant. This wasn’t a case with a suspicious injury which on full investigation was found to be an accident or a peculiar medical condition, but rather that the child ought never really to have been removed. The Judge was not saying that the threshold HAD been met but due to changes the risks had dissipated or become manageable, but that the situation of this family had NEVER crossed the section 31 threshold.

And the Judge had advised the Local Authority in a number of hearings that he was concerned that the section 31 threshold was not made out on the evidence that they had presented and was giving them the opportunity to flesh out their evidence if they had more information which was not before the Court. He told them that on 17th February 2014, 14th April 2014 and 23rd June, before making it official at the final hearing by ruling that threshold was not met.

or:- I split from my Partner a long time ago so there is now no danger to me or my baby/child/children from any domestic violence from him (which was in any case only verbal)

7:-My husband/wife/partner has a similar record.or I am single and will devote myself 24/7 to the care of my baby/child/children if allowed to do so

8:-My child/children have always been happy, well dressed,clean,and have a good attendance record at their schools,

9:-My accommodation is very suitable and has always been kept clean and tidy.

10:-My baby/child/children has/have been cruelly abused by the removal from my loving care.Contrary to section 8 (human rights act) that gives us all the right to a private family life undisturbed by public authority.

11:My rights under Article 6(human rights act) have been breached denying me the opportunity in determination of my CIVIL RIGHTS to speak in court in person to state my case , to call witnesses on my behalf and to cross examine witnesses called to testify against me.

12:- The UN Convention on children’s rights give children the right to participate in proceedings that concern them.The former Minister for Children (Simon Hughes) emphasised that children’s voices must be heard in person and not through third parties;yet I have been refused permission to call my children as my chief witnesses to prove that I have never harmed them ,never neglected them,and that they all want to come home with me as soon as possible because they are very unhappy where they are in care.

 

In the matter of A (A Child) v Darlington Borough Council and (1) M (2) F (3) GM and GF and (4) A (by his children’s guardian) [2015] EWFC 11 (“Re A”) – read judgment

In a scathing judgment, the president of the Family Division has condemned as “social engineering” a local authority’s application to remove a baby boy permanently from the care of his father and place him for adoption.

The case was, he said,

an object lesson in, almost textbook example of, how not to embark upon and pursue a care case.

Some fundamental principles stated by Sir James Munby ,President of the family court.

  1. In the light of the way in which this case has been presented and some of the submissions I have heard, it is important always to bear in mind in these cases, and too often, I fear, they are overlooked, three fundamentally important points. The present case is an object lesson in, almost a textbook example of, how not to embark upon and pursue a care case.
  2. The first fundamentally important point relates to the matter of fact-finding and proof. I emphasise, as I have already said, that it is for the local authority to prove, on a balance of probabilities, the facts upon which it seeks to rely. I draw attention to what, in Re A (A Child) (No 2) [2011] EWCA Civ 12, [2011] 1 FCR 141, para 26, I described as: This carries with it two important practical and procedural consequences.
  3. “the elementary proposition that findings of fact must be based on evidence (including inferences that can properly be drawn from the evidence) and not on suspicion or speculation.”
  1. The first is that the local authority, if its case is challenged on some factual point, must adduce proper evidence to establish what it seeks to prove. Much material to be found in local authority case records or social work chronologies is hearsay, often second- or third-hand hearsay. Hearsay evidence is, of course, admissible in family proceedings. But, and as the present case so vividly demonstrates, a local authority which is unwilling or unable to produce the witnesses who can speak of such matters first-hand, may find itself in great, or indeed insuperable, difficulties if a parent not merely puts the matter in issue but goes into the witness-box to deny it. As I remarked in my second View from the President’s Chambers, [2013] Fam Law 680: It is a common feature of care cases that a local authority asserts that a parent does not admit, recognise or acknowledge something or does not recognise or acknowledge the local authority’s concern about something. If the ‘thing’ is put in issue, the local authority must both prove the ‘thing’ and establish that it has the significance attributed to it by the local authority.
  2. “Of course the court can act on the basis of evidence that is hearsay. But direct evidence from those who can speak to what they have themselves seen and heard is more compelling and less open to cross-examination. Too often far too much time is taken up by cross-examination directed to little more than demonstrating that no-one giving evidence in court is able to speak of their own knowledge, and that all are dependent on the assumed accuracy of what is recorded, sometimes at third or fourth hand, in the local authority’s files.”
  1. The second practical and procedural point goes to the formulation of threshold and proposed findings of fact. The schedule of findings in the present case contains, as we shall see, allegations in relation to the father that “he appears to have” lied or colluded, that various people have “stated” or “reported” things, and that “there is an allegation”. With all respect to counsel, this form of allegation, which one sees far too often in such documents, is wrong and should never be used. It confuses the crucial distinction, once upon a time, though no longer, spelt out in the rules of pleading and well understood, between an assertion of fact and the evidence needed to prove the assertion. What do the words “he appears to have lied” or “X reports that he did Y” mean? More important, where does it take one? The relevant allegation is not that “he appears to have lied” or “X reports”; the relevant allegation, if there is evidence to support it, is surely that “he lied” or “he did Y”.

In the matter of A (A Child) v Darlington Borough Council and (1) M (2) F (3) GM and GF and (4) A (by his children’s guardian) [2015] EWFC 11 (“Re A”) – read judgment

In a scathing judgment, the president of the Family Division has condemned as “social engineering” a local authority’s application to remove a baby boy permanently from the care of his father and place him for adoption.

The case was, he said,

an object lesson in, almost textbook example of, how not to embark upon and pursue a care case.

In addressing these failings, Munby P identified “three fundamentally important points”.

The first point, vital for practitioners on the ground, is that findings of fact must be based on evidence, not suspicion and speculation. As the judge observed, material in local authority files is often second or third-hand hearsay. Although hearsay is admissible in care proceedings, if challenged, a local authority will have to establish its accuracy.

In this case, the original social worker’s “concerns” about the father were repeated and adopted by other practitioners (including the children’s guardian), without further enquiry. When the case reached court, that enquiry revealed what Sir James described witheringly as

a tottering edifice built on inadequate foundations.

Stripped of suspicion, speculation and hyperbole, the majority of the factual case collapsed and was reduced to familiar assertions that the parent “lacks honesty with professionals” or “minimises matters of importance”.

The second fundamental point is that a successful application for a care order must link the facts relied on to the threshold test, i.e., why do the facts asserted lead to the conclusion that the child is at risk of suffering significant harm?

In this case, the local authority thus had to show how the fact that the father had had sex with an underage girl of 13 when he was aged 17, affected his ability to care for his baby son some six years later. How did the social worker’s complaint that he “failed to acknowledge the immoral nature of the offences committed” support the assessment that his child was at risk of neglect?

The judge was equally unimpressed by the local authority’s “concern” about the father’s involvement with the English Defence League (EDL) – referred to in the social worker’s assessment as “a barbaric protestor group”. The fact (“if fact it be”) that the father was a member of the EDL (“probably only for a short time”) was, he said,

neither here nor there, whatever one may think of its beliefs or policies.

The social worker’s repeated reference to the “immoral aspects of the father’s behaviour”, prompted the judge’s third fundamental point that, in the “wise and powerful words” of Hedley J in Re L (Care: Threshold Criteria [2007] 1 FLR 2050:

society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent…some children will experience disadvantage and harm, while others flourish in atmospheres of loving security and emotional stability. These are the consequences of fallible humanity and it is not the provenance of the state to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting. In any event, it simply could not be done.

In the same vein, as Baroness Hale explained in the celebrated Supreme Court decision In re B (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Threshold Criteria) [2013] UKSC 33:

We are all frail human beings, with our fair share of unattractive character traits, which sometimes manifest themselves in bad behaviours which may be copied by our children. But the state does not and cannot take away the children of all the people who commit crimes, who abuse alcohol or drugs, who suffer from physical and mental illnesses or who espouse antisocial political or religious beliefs.

In this case, local authority concerns also included an alleged “history of drug abuse”. Once probed, the evidence established the father “may have taken cannabis on occasions”. However Sir James observed,

the reality is that many parents smoke cannabis on occasions without their children coming to harm… [P]arental abuse of alcohol or drugs of itself and without more is no basis for taking children into care.

On the positive side, the father was recognised to love the child, to be capable of meeting his day-to-day needs and to have shown commitment in supervised contact. Taking account of the “greatly weakened” local authority case and “surveying the wide canvass”, the judge concluded

The judge says “I can accept that the father may not be the best of parents, he may be less than a suitable role model, but that is not enough to justify a care order, let alone adoption.”

para 86

I accept, and find, that there have on occasions been episodes of domestic discord between the father, his mother and more particularly his step-father, that drink has played a significant part in this, that the police have on occasions been called out, and that there was a particularly physical confrontation with violence on 3 December 2013. I accept also that there was some lack of frankness on the part of both the father and his mother in relation to the accounts they gave the local authority of that incident. This history, however, needs to be kept in perspective. Neither the number nor the frequency nor the gravity of these incidents is such, in my judgment, as to cause any major concern. Moreover, it is clear to me, having heard their evidence and watched them carefully throughout the hearing, that, despite their differences and notwithstanding these incidents, the relationship between the father and his mother is, overall, positive and mutually supportive

“[Counsel] seeks to develop Hedley J’s point. He submits that:

‘many parents are hypochondriacs, many parents are criminals or benefit cheats, many parents discriminate against ethnic or sexual minorities, many parents support vile political parties or belong to unusual or militant religions. All of these follies are visited upon their children, who may well adopt or “model” them in their own lives but those children could not be removed for those reasons.’

I agree with [counsel]’s submission”.

The other is the observation of Baroness Hale of Richmond JSC (para 143):

“We are all frail human beings, with our fair share of unattractive character traits, which sometimes manifest themselves in bad behaviours which may be copied by our children. But the State does not and cannot take away the children of all the people who commit crimes, who abuse alcohol or drugs, who suffer from physical or mental illnesses or disabilities, or who espouse antisocial political or religious beliefs.”

  1. I respectfully agree with all of that. It follows that I also agree with what His Honour Judge Jack said in North East Lincolnshire Council v G & L [2014] EWFC B192, a judgment that attracted some attention even whilst I was hearing this case:
    1. “I deplore any form of domestic violence and I deplore parents who care for children when they are significantly under the influence of drink. But so far as Mr and Mrs C are concerned there is no evidence that I am aware of that any domestic violence between them or any drinking has had an adverse effect on any children who were in their care at the time when it took place. The reality is that in this country there must be tens of thousands of children who are cared for in homes where there is a degree of domestic violence (now very widely defined) and where parents on occasion drink more than they should, I am not condoning that for a moment, but the courts are not in the business of social engineering. The courts are not in the business of providing children with perfect homes. If we took into care and placed for adoption every child whose parents had had a domestic spat and every child whose parents on occasion had drunk too much then the care system would be overwhelmed and there would not be enough adoptive parents. So we have to have a degree of realism about prospective carers who come before the courts.”

It boils down to three important principles as elaborated in the case above by Sir James Munby (President of the family courts) and summarised by myself

I SUMMARISE HIS JUDGEMENT AS FOLLOWS :-It boils down to three important principles :-

1:- Hearsay (evidence from persons who do not attend court or take the oath) if contradicted and challenged by a parent in person must be backed up by factual evidence from the L.A and cannot by itself justify a care order.

2:- Even if the allegations against parents are established the local authority must prove that they have caused or will probably cause significant harm to the child or children concerned.

3:-If the lifestyles of the parents are unconventional or immoral or punctuated by occasional noisy domestic spats and episodes of drunkenness those things alone do not justify a care order.S

I accept, and find, that there have on occasions been episodes of domestic discord between the father, his mother and more particularly his step-father, that drink has played a significant part in this, that the police have on occasions been called out, and that there was a particularly physical confrontation with violence on 3 December 2013. I accept also that there was some lack of frankness on the part of both the father and his mother in relation to the accounts they gave the local authority of that incident. This history, however, needs to be kept in perspective. Neither the number nor the frequency nor the gravity of these incidents is such, in my judgment, as to cause any major concern. Moreover, it is clear to me, having heard their evidence and watched them carefully throughout the hearing, that, despite their differences and notwithstanding these incidents, the relationship between the father and his mother is, overall, positive and mutually supportive

 

KINSHIP CARE

Social Services have a legal obligation to place children with relatives where possible if they have removed them from parents.It is the responsibility of the local authorities to make enquiries to see if relatives are available to receive such children.

The Children Act 1989 clearly states in the following extract:-

(4) A person falls within this subsection if he is (a) a parent of the child;(b) a person who is not a parent of the child but who has parental responsibility for him; or(c) where the child is in care and there was a residence order in force with respect to him immediately before the care order was made, a person in whose favour the residence order was made.

(5) Where a child is in the care of a local authority, the authority may only allow him to live with a person who falls within subsection (4) in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State.

(6) Subject to any regulations made by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this subsection, any local authority looking after a child shall make arrangements to enable him to live with”

(a) a person falling within subsection (4); or

(b) a relative, friend or other person connected with him,

unless that would not be reasonably practicable or consistent with his welfare.

(7) Where a local authority provide accommodation for a child whom they are looking after, they shall, subject to the provisions of this Part and so far as is reasonably practicable and consistent with his welfare, secure that”

(a) the accommodation is near his home; and

(b) where the authority are also providing accommodation for a sibling of his, they are accommodated together.

 

How To File Your Case With The European Court Of Human Rights

by Natasha

One of the things we are asked regularly is how and when a family can apply to the European Court Of Human Rights to hear their case, and now the ECHR has provided a really useful guide explaining this, and it’s been really well done.

If a family, parent or child wish to apply to the ECHR, first, they need to have exhausted all the remedies available to them in their home country. This usually means allowing a case to run its course from the lower courts all the way up to the appropriate highest court for that case. Once all avenues have been tried, if the parties still feel their case hasn’t been properly dealt with, they can then apply to the European Court.

The ECHR’s home page for the guide is divided into sections, including:

The page even offers a full breakdown of the Rules Of Court, and related Practice Directions.

We love the level of detail here and the simple language that’s been used to make all this information easily accessible. It’s something we try hard to do in our spare time with our LIP Service videos, but we’re really delighted to see that the ECHR has taken the initiative and put together this guide.

Worth holding onto as well is this brochure from the House of Commons Library which was published this month, and also offers information on how to apply to the ECHR. Although it’s been prepared for Members of Parliament who are asked by their constituents about how to apply to the ECHR, it is also well written and offers a nice summary of the application process. At a comfortable 24 pages, we would recommend reading this first before diving into the ECHR’s own guide

You can quote 3 reasons why your child if aged 10+ must be allowed to come to court:-

1:- The Human Rights act ;Article 6 as quoted below that “in determination of their civil rights “ persons before a court may call witnesses and in this case your child is your chief witness without whom you have no case.

2:-  The former Minister for justice and civil liberties Simon Hughes recently made it clear that all children aged 10 years or more should have the right to make their views known to the judge themselves and not have them” interpreted “ by 3rd parties

3The United Nations Convention on childrens rights makes it clear that all children have the right to make their views known and taken into account in proceedings that concern them.

If the judge not only refuses to allow your child to testify in court but also refuses to question the child in chambers in the presence of yourself or your lawyer and the guardian ;then you have a very very strong chance to appeal on the grounds that the judge has acted illegally and you should say all this in court briefly but clearly!

All 3 authorities below should be quoted in full !

HUMAN RIGHTS ACT

Article 6: Right to a fair trial

(1) In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
(2) Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
(3) Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights –

(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used

——————————————————————————–

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by  General Assembly resolution 44/25  of 20 November 1989

entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49

Article 12 (child’s right to participate in decision making)

1. Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law

Any claim that this clause is satisfied by the appointment of a “guardian” or “independent solicitor” to represent the children’s views by stating in court an opinion diametrically opposed to that of the children concerned should be exposed as the sham that it is.Simply a device to keep the children’s true opinions and desires from reaching the court and as such a clear breach of the spirit of the convention.

——————————————————————————–

Human Rights Act  Article 8: Right to privacy

(1) Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

(2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

SPECIAL NOTE:-

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

This is, in the most basic sense, a right to privacy. And it was passed by Parliament into law. Whenever it is cited in court in injunction cases, it is always balanced by judges against another right enshrined by the Convention, the right to freedom of expression under article 10.

Moreover, the Human Rights Act also has a specific provision which seeks to bolster the freedom of expression side of that balance. Section 12 provides

The court must have particular regard to the importance of the Convention right to freedom of expression and, where the proceedings relate to material which the respondent claims, or which appears to the court, to be journalistic, literary or artistic material (or to conduct connected with such material), to

(a)the extent to which (i) the material has, or is about to, become available to the public; or (ii) it is, or would be, in the public interest for the material to be published; (b)any relevant privacy code.

YOU CAN ALSO QUOTE THREE IMPORTANT CASES TO PROVE YOUR POINT !

Three-year-old becomes youngest trial witness

Jonathan Brown, The Independent, Saturday 12 November 2011

A three-year-old boy was given a packet of crisps by a judge after making legal history by becoming what is believed to be the youngest child to give evidence in a British court case.

The toddler, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was led gently through a series of questions about an alleged attack during the informal hearing. Answering via video link from an adjoining room at Bradford Crown Court, the boy told Judge Jonathan Rose that he liked Transformers and that his favourite flavour of crisps was salt and vinegar.

The court heard that the boy from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, then aged two, suffered life-threatening injuries and had to undergo surgery on his bowel after Daniel Joyce, 29, allegedly stamped on his stomach.

The judge and both barristers removed their wigs and gowns in accordance with Ministry of Justice guidelines on questioning young witnesses.

Michelle Colborne, for the defence, handed the boy cardboard cut-outs representing people and locations involved in the case as she reconstructed events.

The child was accompanied by a court usher and a female intermediary and was allowed to draw during the short cross-examination. He had been warned that he had to tell the truth before giving his evidence.

At one point the judge asked him: “If Michelle asks you just three questions should we stop for a bag of salt and vinegar crisps?” He replied: “Yeah.” The boy was also questioned by Caroline Wigin, for the prosecution. She asked: “How did Danny hurt your tummy?”

“He stamped on me,” the boy replied. “Did he touch you anywhere else apart from your tummy?” asked Ms Wigin. “Yeah,” said the boy.

“Where was that?” she asked. “He put his hand on my mouth,” said the child who is also alleged to have suffered injuries to the face and ear. “Do you know which room you were in?” asked Ms Wigin. “Yeah … in my bedroom,” said the boy. The prosecutor said the boy had appeared “his normal chatty self” according to a witness the night before the alleged attack. Mr Joyce raised the alarm the following day when the boy appeared pale and floppy.

A few weeks later the boy was asked what had happened and he said “Danny” had stamped on his stomach, it was claimed. Mr Joyce denies GBH with intent and an alternative allegation of causing grievous bodily harm. The trial continues.

—————————–

Girl, 6, makes legal history as judge in child abduction case allows her to choose whether to live with her mummy or daddy

By Andy Dolan Daily Mail 15th April 2010

In a landmark case, a six-year-old girl caught in a tug-of-love battle has been allowed to choose which parent she will live with.

She became the youngest child to have her wishes influence the courts in an international child abduction case.

A judge heard how she had been left with a ‘visceral’ fear of being sent back to live with her father in Ireland.

The girl and her two brothers, aged three and eight, were brought to the UK by their English-born mother last summer.

They are now free to remain with her in this country after the Appeal Court yesterday upheld an earlier ruling by a family court judge to refuse the father’s application for them to be sent back to Ireland.

Giving her decision last month, Mrs Justice Black said the six-year-old and her older brother had ‘attained an age and level of maturity’ to have their wishes taken into account.

She said it would be ‘intolerable’ for their younger brother to be separated from them.

The court heard the three siblings had spent all their lives in Ireland, their father’s homeland, before their mother ‘unlawfully removed’ them last summer.

Their father’s counsel, Edward Devereux, said it was a ‘ clandestine and well-planned’ operation carried out while the father was at work.

He asked to have the children ‘summarily returned’ to Ireland under the Hague Convention, the international treaty which tackles-child abduction in family cases.

But Mrs Justice Black refused to order their return after hearing the strength of the two older children’s objections to the move.

A social worker who interviewed the pair said that, when she told them they might be sent back to Ireland, the boy ‘became very fidgety’ and his little sister started to cry.

The youngsters said that, if they had to return to Ireland, they wanted to live in a secret location as far away from their father as possible, the court heard.

In her ruling, Mrs Justice Black said the children’s objections were rooted ‘in their own experiences of family life and their fear of their father’.

She added that there was nothing to suggest that they had been influenced or put under pressure by their mother.

At the Appeal Court, Mr Devereux argued that the judge’s ruling undermined the whole basis of the Hague Convention, which requires that the future of children in such cases should be decided by the courts of the country from which they have been unlawfully abducted.

Describing the case as ‘unique’, the barrister said that six ‘is the youngest age in the reported jurisprudence at which a child has been found to have attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of her views’.

Mrs Justice Black’s ‘radical’ ruling, he said, would have ‘a far-reaching impact’ on child abduction cases.

However, after a two-hour hearing, Lord Justice Wilson and Lord Justice Sedley refused to grant the father permission to appeal, with the result that the children will now get their wish and stay with their mother in England.

Recognising the potentially widespread importance of the case, Lord Justice Sedley said the court would give the reasons for its decision at a later date.

Last month’s Court of Appeal hearing attracted much attention in the national press because at first instance Black J had taken account of the views of two of the three children involved. The younger of them was five years old at the time of her interview by a Cafcass officer. Edward Devereux, representing the father, told the Court of Appeal that Mrs Justice Black’s decision to consult the girl had been “radical” and “unique”. He said that five was “the youngest age in the reported jurisprudence at which a child has been found to have attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of her views.” The father’s application for permission to appeal was refused. Delivering the main judgment of the Court, Wilson LJ cited the observation of Baroness Hale in In Re D (A Child) (Abduction: Rights of Custody) [2006] UKHL 51, that

“children should be heard far more frequently in Hague Convention cases than has been the practice hitherto”.  He shared the concern that “the lowering of the age at which a child’s objections may be taken into account might gradually erode the high level of achievement of the Convention’s objective, namely – in the vast majority of cases – to secure a swift restoration of children to the states from which they have been abducted.” However, he added: “A considerable safeguard against such erosion is to be found in the well-recognised expectation that in the discretionary exercise the objections of an older child will deserve greater weight than those of a younger child.”

—-

In Mabon v. Mabon [2005] 2 FLR 1011, the Court of Appeal considered Rule 9.2A and the older line of authorities in the light of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, and Article 8 of the ECHR. The court acknowledged the greater appreciation and weight which must now be attached to the child’s autonomy and consequential right to participate fully in the decision-making process that fundamentally affects his life. It held that

in the case of articulate teenagers…. the right to freedom of expression and participation outweighed the paternalistic judgment of welfare.”[paragraph 28].

However, if direct participation would lead to a risk of harm that the child was incapable of comprehending, then a judge could find that sufficient understanding had not been demonstrated. Judges must equally be alive to the risk of emotional harm that might arise from denying the child knowledge of and participation in the continuing proceedings [para.29].

Child wins the right to challenge her care order

A 16-year-old girl has won an appeal to instruct her own lawyer and try to discharge the care order made for her

Court decisions

Photo: tashatuvango/Fotolia

A child in care has won the right to instruct a lawyer to appeal her care order.

A 16-year-old girl, referred to as FW, won the right to challenge a care order made in 2014 after a court found she and her siblings had been emotionally and physically abused.

Since entering care FW had absconded regularly, the appeal hearing was told. She was appealing a judge’s earlier decision to reject both her request to instruct her own solicitor and her application to discharge recovery and care orders made for her.

The judge made the care order after the children were found to have been controlled by their father and subjected to “demeaning and humiliating punishments”. FW denied this and said she did not accept the judge’s findings.

In the appeal hearing lawyers for the children’s guardian, who opposed FW’s request, said the girl’s capacity was “severely compromised”. They argued her “extreme subservience to her parents” and her isolation meant she was unable to hold independent views.

WHAT THE JUDGES SAY

1: Lord Justice Thorpe said There is nothing more serious than a removal hearing, because the parents are so prejudiced in proceedings thereafter.

2: Lord Justice Wall (the former Senior family court judge) said that the determination of some social workers to place children in an “unsatisfactory care system” away from their families was “quite shocking”.

3: In a separate case on which Sir Nicholas Wall also sat, Lord Justice Aikens described the actions of social workers in Devon as “more like Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China than the W

Ministry of justice :- Official Judicial statistics

In 2011, there were 32,739 children involved in disposals of public law cases, including 31,515 orders made, 792 applications withdrawn, 350 orders of no order and 72 orders refused.

What chance did those parents have as (to quote L.J.Thorpe) “parents are so prejudiced in proceedings” ?

If your child is slow to speak etc remind social workers accusing you of neglect because your baby or young child has not “reached its milestones” ,that Albert Einstein the greatest mathematical genius of the century hardly spoke at all until he was three!

rlyAlbert Einstein in Brief 1879

Albert Einstein was born to a middle-class German Jewish family. His parents were concerned that he scarcely talked until the age of three, but he was not so much a backward as a quiet child. He would build tall houses of cards and hated playing soldier. At the age of twelve he was fascinated by a geometry book……………….

How to conduct an appeal:-

I repeat this advice in case you skipped it earlier !

You need to show either

1:- That circumstances have changed for the better since the previous decision; (eg no longer with a violent Partner,no longer dépendent on drugs or alcohol,cured of depression or other condition that could adversely affect children etc)

or 2:-That the judge made a mistake in law  (eg did not consider kinship care,made sexist or racist or simply very impolite  remarksabout you without justification,did not demonstrate that adoption really was a last resort in your case because the judge neglected to show that all alternative solutions were not possible etc.)

In re P (A child) 2016

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2016/3.html

The Court of Appeal conclude that a Judge who made a Placement Order (thus authorising a child to be placed for adoption) had not conducted a sufficiently robust analysis of the relative merits of the placement options before making that decision.  The Judge had set out in the judgment what he was required to do, but the Court of Appeal say that he didn’t actually do it.

or 3:- That the previous hearing was unfair to you.(eg that you were not informed of the hearing,that you were not allowed to call witnesses to court such as your doctor,your children, your extended family,or even your new Partner,that you were wrongly informed that you could not appeal and only now have found out that you have the right to ask for an oral hearing asking permission to appeal.that you live a long way from the court and had no Financial means to make the return journey three or more  times for a hearing of three days or more, etc )

As already stated in the introduction section,children of all ages even those under 12 aged 7 or 8 for example can go to any phone box and call parents reverse charges if they are quietly told how to do this.

Dial 100 from any private phone or public call box and you will be offered 4 options(choices) Choose option4 ask the operator for a call transferring the charges. The operator will then ask you for your name and the number you are calling.(this must be to a fixed line not a mobile)Your mother or father will then say ok they accept the call and no money is needed from the child who is calling!

If there is no court order section34 forbidding contact they can always meet you for an afternoon or so and it would be an assault  for social workers to physically stop them !

The important thing is firstly to keep in touch with your children  telling them you still love them and are fighting the wicked social workers who kidnapped them.(social workers have absolutely NO legal right to censor your conversation)You should then take positive steps to recover them and welcome them back home .

Quote the cases and the principles below .Ignore the advice of lawyers who tell you to admit to things you have not done ! Even more important ,do remind lawyers that they are there to take instructions from clients not vice versa! Refuse to “go along with social services ” in court and always fiercely oppose interim care orders,adoption placements,and adoption orders.Oppose gagging orders,prohibited steps orders, any orders forbidding you to contact your own children and above all if faced with a criminal charge and you know you are innocent ;then plead NOT GUILTY even if bent lawyers try and persuade you to lie in court and plead guilty to save them time and money !

Cases on threshold must be supported by stated facts: Court of Appeal

Court summarises principles set out by the President in Re A (A Child)

The Court of Appeal has expressed concern about local authorities’ lack of precision in pleading that the threshold criteria have been met in care proceedings. Lord Justice McFarlane, giving the main judgment in Re J (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 222, said that he expressly welcomed and endorsed the importance that the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, ‘has attributed to the need for there to be linkage between the individual facts relied upon [by a local authority] and the requirements of s 31 of the Children Act 1989’. In Re A (a child) [2015] EWFC 11 the President had said:

“The second fundamentally important point is the need to link the facts relied upon by the local authority with its case on threshold, the need to demonstrate why, as the local authority asserts, facts A+B+C justify the conclusion that the child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm of types X, Y or Z.”

McFarlane LJ also endorsed the “View from the President’s Chambers (2)” (June 2013), which set out that threshold should state: “what the nature of the local authority case is; what the essential factual basis of the case is; what the evidence is upon which the local authority relies to establish its case; what the local authority is asking the court, and why” in a short, concise document.

In Re J a mother appealed the decision to make care and placement orders in respect of J, an 8 month old boy.  The mother was aged 16 when J was born and had spent time, from age 13, in the local authority’s care.  She went into a mother and baby foster placement that broke down shortly after J’s birth – proceedings were issued and J remained in foster care.

The parents disputed some of the factual matters relied upon and it was necessary for the judge to evaluate whether the established matters (a) justified concluding that the threshold criterion of significant harm was met and, if so, (b) whether the plan for adoption was justified as a necessary and proportionate response.

In this case, McFarlane LJ said, the question of whether this young, immature couple was likely to cause significant harm to their baby required a far greater degree of analysis than it had received from the local authority or the judge.  Even if there was a conclusion that threshold was met, there should also have been a similarly thorough and clear analysis of the evidence to determine the welfare outcome.

The only factual matters referred to in the original judgment in the family court were an admitted domestic incident between the parents prior to J’s birth, a domestic incident when clothes were thrown, and the father having a caution for possession of cannabis.  The other matters relied upon (lack of parenting role models, dishonesty, failure to engage and emotional immaturity) were in the most general terms.  The ‘findings’ did not identify what significant harm the judge found J to have suffered, nor was the type of significant harm that J was likely to suffer.

McFarlane LJ concluded that the judgment in the family court was, “by a wide margin, wholly inadequate”. The Court allowed the appeal and remitted the cases to be heard by a different judge.

Aikens LJ, agreeing with McFarlane LJ, summarised the principles set out by the President in Re A “in the hope that advocates and judges throughout England and Wales who have to deal with these difficult care cases will pay the utmost heed to what the President has said”:

i) In an adoption case, it is for the local authority to prove,  on a balance of probabilities,  the facts on which it relies  and,  if adoption is to be ordered,  to demonstrate that “nothing else will do”, when having regard to the overriding requirements of the child’s welfare.

ii)  If the local authority’s case on a factual issue is challenged, the local authority must adduce proper evidence to establish the fact it seeks to prove.    If a local authority asserts that a parent “does not admit, recognise or acknowledge” that a matter of concern to the authority is the case, then if that matter of concern is put in issue, it is for the local authority to prove it is the case and, furthermore, that  the matter of concern  “has the significance attributed to it by the local authority”.

iii) Hearsay evidence about issues that appear in reports produced on behalf of the local authority,  although admissible,   has strict limitations if a parent challenges that hearsay evidence by giving contrary oral evidence at a hearing.  If the local authority is unwilling or unable to produce a witness who can speak to the relevant matter by first hand evidence,  it may find itself in “great,  or indeed insuperable” difficulties in proving the fact or matter alleged by the local authority but which is challenged.

iv) The formulation of “Threshold” issues and proposed findings of fact must be done with the utmost care and precision.   The distinction between a fact and evidence alleged to prove a fact is fundamental and must be recognised.   The document must identify the relevant facts which are sought to be proved.   It can be cross-referenced to evidence relied on to prove the facts asserted but should not contain mere allegations (“he appears to have lied” etc.).

v) It is for the local authority to prove that there is the necessary link between the facts upon which it relies and its case on Threshold.   The local authority must demonstrate why certain facts, if proved, “justify the conclusion that the child has suffered or is at the risk of suffering significant harm” of the type asserted by the local authority.   “The local authority’s evidence and submissions must set out the arguments and explain explicitly why it is said that, in the particular case, the conclusion [that the child has suffered or is at the risk of suffering significant harm] indeed follows from the facts [proved]”.

vi) It is vital that local authorities, and, even more importantly, judges,  bear in mind that nearly all parents will be imperfect in some way or other. The State will not take away the children of “those who commit crimes,  abuse alcohol or drugs or suffer from physical or mental illness or disability, or who espouse antisocial,  political or religious beliefs”   simply because those facts are established.   It must be demonstrated by the local authority,   in the first place, that by reason of one or more of those facts,  the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering significant harm.   Even if that is demonstrated, adoption will not be ordered unless it is demonstrated by the local authority that “nothing else will do” when having regard to the overriding requirements of the child’s welfare.     The court must guard against “social engineering”.

vii) When a judge considers the evidence, he must take all of it into account and consider each piece of evidence in the context of all the other evidence, and, to use a metaphor, examine the canvas overall.

viii)  In considering a local authority’s application for a care order for adoption the judge must have regard to the “welfare checklist” insection1(3) of the Children Act 1989 and that in section 1(4) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.   The judge must also treat, as a paramount consideration,  the child’s welfare “throughout his life” in accordance with section 1(2) of the 2002 Act.   In dispensing with the parents’ consent, the judge must apply section 52(1)(b) as explained in Re P (Placement Orders,  parental consent) [2008] EWCA Civ 535.

For the judgment, prefaced by a summary by Ariel Ricci of Coram Chambers, please click here.

SO CALLED “VOLUNTARY CARE”

1.Surrey County Council “v- M, F & E [2012] EWHC [2400] a decision of Mrs. Justice Theis and at paragraph 60 she said this:-

“To use the section 20 procedure in circumstances where there was the overt threat of a police protection order if they did not agree, reinforced by the physical presence of uniformed police officers, was wholly inappropriate. By adopting this procedure the local authority sought to circumvent the test any court would have required them to meet if they sought to secure an order, either by way of an EPO or interim care order.”

Remember that you are free to take back your children any time!

Home Office Circular 17/2008, issues guidance to the police in the use of their powers under section 46.

The guidance goes on to say at paragraph 15:

“Police protection is an emergency power and should only be used when necessary, the principle being that wherever possible the decision to remove a child/children from a parent should be made by a court.”

It goes on to say at paragraph 16:

“All local authorities should have in place local arrangements (through their local Chief Executive and Clerks to the Justices) whereby out of hours applications for EPOs may be made speedily and without an excess of bureaucracy. Police protection powers should only be used when this is not possible.”

NON MOLESTATION ORDERS

Cite the high court ruling in Case HIGC3456 delivered on 27/6/01 where a precedent was set regarding the Court’s conduct in ex-parte granted non-molestation order cases. Try googling this case.

In it it states on P2: ‘a non-molestation order is a serious interference with a person’s liberty and could have grave consequences due to the power of arrest to which it gives rise.’

On P5 it states: ‘if the court makes an order by virtue of paragraph (1), it shall afford the respondent (ie the person who has had the order served upon them) an opportunity to make representations relating to the order as soon as just and convenient at a full hearing.’

On P7 it states: ‘Given the nature of a non-molestation order and its effect …a FULL hearing Must be convened At The Earliest Opportunity.’

P8 it states: A respondent should be ‘afforded an opportunity to make representations’ at the earliest opportunity.’

The statement on P10 ‘in any event the evidence in support of the application shall state the reasons why the application is made ex-parte’ is no comfort to the respondent if the given reasons for ‘justifying’ making the order in the respondent’s absence are entirely fictitious and fabricated, however they do provide a starting point for galvanising a response when an opportunity is provided (If of course such opportunity is provided).

P10 ‘Article 23 (3) REQUIRES the court to afford the respondent an opportunity to make representations’ P11 at the ‘earliest opportunity’.

Also on P11 ‘there is the Potential for such an order to Work an Injustice on the respondent.’

ILLEGAL CHILD REMOVAL

In R (on the application of G) v Nottingham City Council [2008] EWHC 400 (Admin) Munby J considered removal of a child from a mother without either court order or consent under s.20 of the CA 1989.  In finding that removal to be unlawful the Court relied on Article 8 of the HRA and concluded that the interference with the family life was not justifiable under Article 8(2) as a result

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2675395/Judge-blasts-social-workers-telling-not-law-remove-nine-year-old-family-away-without-consent.html

Yes, the punishment dealt out to parents by family courts is far more severe than anything the criminal courts can do ;yet the evidence needed is only the “balance of probabilities”(51+%) instead of “beyond reasonable doubt” .This must be very wrong !

Speech by Sir James Munby (president of the family courts) to the Society of editors:- “I have said this many times in the past but it must never be forgotten that, with the state’s abandonment of the right to impose capital sentences, orders of the kind which family judges are typically invited to make in public law proceedings are amongst the most drastic that any judge in any jurisdiction is ever empowered to make. When a family judge makes an adoption order in relation to a twenty-year old mother’s baby, the mother will have to live with the consequences of that decision for what may be upwards of 60 or even 70 years, and the baby for what may be upwards of 80 or even 90 years. We must be vigilant to guard against the risk”

Some fundamental principles stated by Sir James Munby ,President of the family court.

  1. In the light of the way in which this case has been presented and some of the submissions I have heard, it is important always to bear in mind in these cases, and too often, I fear, they are overlooked, three fundamentally important points. The present case is an object lesson in, almost a textbook example of, how not to embark upon and pursue a care case.
  2. The first fundamentally important point relates to the matter of fact-finding and proof. I emphasise, as I have already said, that it is for the local authority to prove, on a balance of probabilities, the facts upon which it seeks to rely. I draw attention to what, in Re A (A Child) (No 2) [2011] EWCA Civ 12, [2011] 1 FCR 141, para 26, I described as:

“the elementary proposition that findings of fact must be based on evidence (including inferences that can properly be drawn from the evidence) and not on suspicion or speculation.”

This carries with it two important practical and procedural consequences.

  1. The first is that the local authority, if its case is challenged on some factual point, must adduce proper evidence to establish what it seeks to prove. Much material to be found in local authority case records or social work chronologies is hearsay, often second- or third-hand hearsay. Hearsay evidence is, of course, admissible in family proceedings. But, and as the present case so vividly demonstrates, a local authority which is unwilling or unable to produce the witnesses who can speak of such matters first-hand, may find itself in great, or indeed insuperable, difficulties if a parent not merely puts the matter in issue but goes into the witness-box to deny it. As I remarked in my second View from the President’s Chambers, [2013] Fam Law 680:

“Of course the court can act on the basis of evidence that is hearsay. But direct evidence from those who can speak to what they have themselves seen and heard is more compelling and less open to cross-examination. Too often far too much time is taken up by cross-examination directed to little more than demonstrating that no-one giving evidence in court is able to speak of their own knowledge, and that all are dependent on the assumed accuracy of what is recorded, sometimes at third or fourth hand, in the local authority’s files.”

It is a common feature of care cases that a local authority asserts that a parent does not admit, recognise or acknowledge something or does not recognise or acknowledge the local authority’s concern about something. If the ‘thing’ is put in issue, the local authority must both prove the ‘thing’ and establish that it has the significance attributed to it by the local authority.

  1. The second practical and procedural point goes to the formulation of threshold and proposed findings of fact. The schedule of findings in the present case contains, as we shall see, allegations in relation to the father that “he appears to have” lied or colluded, that various people have “stated” or “reported” things, and that “there is an allegation”. With all respect to counsel, this form of allegation, which one sees far too often in such documents, is wrong and should never be used. It confuses the crucial distinction, once upon a time, though no longer, spelt out in the rules of pleading and well understood, between an assertion of fact and the evidence needed to prove the assertion. What do the words “he appears to have lied” or “X reports that he did Y” mean? More important, where does it take one? The relevant allegation is not that “he appears to have lied” or “X reports”; the relevant allegation, if there is evidence to support it, is surely that “he lied” or “he did Y”.

Re B (Children: Long Term Foster Care) [2014] EWCA Civ 1172

Appeal against care orders in respect of two boys. Appeal allowed and case remitted for rehearing by a different judge.

This case concerned two boys, A and B, who were age 11 and almost 10 respectively at the time of the appeal hearing.  The appeal was brought by their mother against the decision of HHJ Scarratt, on 30 October 2013, to make final care orders in respect of both boys.

The judgment describes the concerns about the children as ‘diverse’.  These included domestic violence between the parents, poor home conditions, poor school attendance, trouble caused by family members, the children being out unsupervised at night and the mother being stabbed by a neighbour.  Although at the outset of the proceedings, the local authority had sought interim care orders, they subsequently accepted that the boys could remain at home during the proceedings under interim supervision orders.  The evidence at this time acknowledged that the mother had been able to make improvements and work with professionals for the benefit of the children.

During the course of the proceedings, the mother continued to show some positive engagement although fresh issues also arose which gave the local authority and the Guardian cause for concern.  However, the local authority evidence reflected its plan for the boys to remain at home under interim supervision orders.

The local authority changed its plan to one of foster care prior to a hearing on 5 September 2013.  This was due to the ongoing concerns and their view that ‘only minimal improvements’ had been made despite the support and the ongoing reports of fresh incidents of concern.  Further incidents occurred between the local authority’s final evidence and the final hearing in October 2013.

At that hearing, HHJ Scarratt preferred the evidence of the local authority and the Children’s Guardian and made the care orders sought.  The mother’s grounds of appeal were distilled into the following propositions:

  • That the judge failed to scrutinise properly the local authority’s change of position from July 2013 to August 2013;
  • That the judge wrongly accepted the local authority’s evidence about two of the incidents in September when the witnesses to those incidents had neither given statements nor attended to give oral evidence.

The Court of Appeal held that the judge had failed to carry out a sufficient analysis of the alleged incidents that had given rise to the change of position and had failed to make findings about what had occurred.

Matters were not helped by the local authority having confused the criminal record of the mother’s new partner, Mr SB, with that of his brother.  It was difficult to ascertain from the judgment what the judge had made of the supposed convictions of the partner as his reasoning was unclear.  Moreover, the judge had not determined whether the mother had ended her relationship with this partner and whether that showed an ability to put the needs of the children first.  His reasoning about the mother’s association with Mr SB was therefore described as ‘decidedly shaky’.

In relation to a finding that the judge had made, namely that the mother’s partner had assaulted A, the judge had not carried out sufficient analysis of the evidence before him to justify that finding given the significance of that alleged incident in the proceedings overall.

In allowing the appeal and remitting the case back for a fresh final hearing before a different judge, the judgment emphasises that the Court of Appeal did not do so because there was insufficient evidence to justify a care order but:

“The basis on which we allowed the appeal was that the judgment was flawed in its approach to the events which led to LA’s change of mind and was lacking in the detail that was required to substantiate the decision taken. The more finely balanced the decision in a case, the more exacting must be the judge’s approach to the evidence, the more precise his findings of fact on pivotal matters and the fuller the explanation of his route to his determination.”

The judge’s treatment of the background history lacked sufficient detail and analysis and so this compounded the difficulties with his treatment of recent events and:

“In short, this was a case which could only be resolved by a detailed and critical review of the evidence, old and new, with each step of the way meticulously charted in the judgment.

AGE 16 AND STILL IN CARE??

Remember also that if children are 16 or more they will often be released from care.Sometimes however the “SS” take a particular dislike to a family and say they will keep the child until 18 when the care order must expire.

NEVER MIND! There is a way out ! If a child marries at 16 then the care order ceases !A marriage anywhere in Scotland does NOT need parental consent.Take the hint !

No need for a divorce later as the marriage can simply be annulled(cancelled) when the child reaches 18 if it has not been consummated (ie if bride and groom have not slept together)!

A TRUE CASE :-

“On the 22nd december 2011, an order was made for me to be taken away from my mother causing me and my mother to flee our home. After 3 weeks we were caught; my mother was locked up and bailed on abduction charges and I was taken to Cockermouth Carlisle to a foster home, my phone was taken from me;I was not allowed any contact with any of my family and I was on 24 hour supervision; not allowing me to go anywhere by myself. I remained there for 5 months and only received school work on the last month. I saw my mother twice a week for 2 hours .I was then moved to another carer at Chester-lee street to attend school and still not allowed a phone or to see any family members apart from my mother .I was placed there for 2 months. I was then placed with my aunt and was only allowed to see my mother once a week for 2 hours. All this time I was desparate to move back with my mother and to be able to see my siblings. To do this I was married at Gretna Green (Google Gretna green to see how to arrange a marriage) at the age of 16 on the 16th November 2012 .On the same night the police attended my mother’s house and were shown my marriage certificate.After stating it was all legal they left,and my clothes are being returned to me today from my aunts house who was my foster carer.

Ian I would like to thank you deeply for all your help

yours sincerely Georgie Callison ” tcallison325@googlemail.com

IMPORTANT  TO GET A SECOND EXPERT OPINION BECAUSE :-

New rulings have been made by the U.K. courts in criminal and civil cases involving the deaths of children which are that,  (Lord Justice Judge – Angela Cannings Appeal Hearing against conviction 2004),

“in cases like the present, if the outcome of the trial depends exclusively or almost exclusively on a serious disagreement between distinguished and reputable experts, it will often be unwise, and therefore unsafe, to proceed”.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2016/2149.html   SHOWS HOW UNRELIABLE SOME “EXPERTS” CAN BE.

GOV.UK Search

 

The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.

Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone, eg at home or in a car.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says:

  • children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
  • children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
  • babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone

Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.

One case you can quote that was never brought to court ! Our Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha forgot their daughter  aged 8 when they both departed  and left her all alone in a busy pub for around 20 minutes before they remembered her existence and went back to fetch her ! That was ruled OK and no laws broken …….

=========================

Orders contemplating non-consensual adoption – care orders with a plan for adoption, placement orders and adoption orders – are “a very extreme thing, a last resort”, only to be made where “nothing else will do”, where “no other course is possible in [the child’s] interests”, they are “the most extreme option”, a “last resort – when all else fails” –Sir James Munby President of the family courts) in Re B:

 

Precedent The right to breastfeed
*In the matter of unborn baby M; R (on the application of X and another) v Gloucestershire County Council.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2003/850.html

Citation: BLD 160403280; [2003] EWHC 850 (Admin). Hearing Date: 15 April 2003 Court: Administrative Court. Judge: Munby J.

Abstract.

“Per curiam. If the state, in the guise of a local authority, seeks to remove a baby from his parents at a time when its case against the parents has not yet even been established, then the very least the state can do is to make generous arrangements for contact, those arrangements being driven by the needs of the family and not stunted by lack of resources. Typically, if this is what the parents want, one will be looking to contact most days of the week and for lengthy periods. Local authorities also had to be sensitive to the wishes of a mother who wants to breast-feed, and should make suitable arrangements to enable her to do so, and not merely to bottle-feed expressed breast milk. Nothing less would meet the imperative demands of the European Convention on Human Rights.”…

Published Date 16/04/2003

Domestic Violence not necessarily a sufficient reason to remove a child

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2014/B110.html

This is a set of care proceedings heard in Manchester County Court, but it raises some important issues of wider importance.

It was a case in which the Local Authority obtained an Emergency Protection Order removing IMA in August 2013, and after that Interim Care Orders sanctioning IMA remaining in foster care, up until the final hearing, which took place in August 2014 a year after the initial removal.

The Local Authority had been seeking a plan of adoption, supported by the Guardian, but this had changed to permanent placement with a relative. It is of note that the plan of adoption had been supported by the Agency Decision Makers (whose job it is to assess separately to social workers whether the circumstances of an individual case mean that adoption is the right plan)

The Judge at final hearing found that the threshold criteria were not made out, and thus the child would be going home and no statutory orders would be made.

The threshold criteria was based on the risk of the child being exposed to domestic violence (which is, on the revised wording of the Children Act 1989 a matter which on its own is capable of meeting threshold). That had two aspects really (i) Was father a risk of violence or violent behaviour and (ii) was the child in mother’s care going to be exposed to the father.

The fact that the Judge found that threshold was not met therefore was significant. This wasn’t a case with a suspicious injury which on full investigation was found to be an accident or a peculiar medical condition, but rather that the child ought never really to have been removed. The Judge was not saying that the threshold HAD been met but due to changes the risks had dissipated or become manageable, but that the situation of this family had NEVER crossed the section 31 threshold.

And the Judge had advised the Local Authority in a number of hearings that he was concerned that the section 31 threshold was not made out on the evidence that they had presented and was giving them the opportunity to flesh out their evidence if they had more information which was not before the Court. He told them that on 17th February 2014, 14th April 2014 and 23rd June, before making it official at the final hearing by ruling that threshold was not met.

CRIMINAL RECORDS + DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND PARENTS STILL WIN !

See also a very important case where both parents had bad criminal records and previous domestic violence but still recovered their baby from care !If it fits your case because it is similar quote this case to the judge and ask him for similar treatment for you !

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2014/B110.html

ALSO:-N-D (Children) [2014] EWCA Civ 1226
Judgments (10/09/2014)
Successful appeal against care and placement orders on the basis that the judgment had failed to provide adequate reasoning behind the welfare determination

 

National Domestic Violence Hotline (IF YOU NEED HELP)

http://www.thehotline.org/

State child snatchers: As social workers hand back a child they falsely claim was abused, an investigation exposes one of the great scandals of our age

By Christopher Booker

Daily Mail, 20th August 2011

Daily Mail readers will have been horrified yesterday to read the story of the South Gloucestershire couple whose two young children were removed from them because social workers thought their son’s bone fractures must have been caused by physical abuse.

Only after a nightmarish 18-month ordeal, which drove the couple apart, were they finally able to produce medical evidence to indicate that the boy’s injuries were caused naturally, by brittle bone disease.

The council dropped the case, and Amy Garland and her children are now happily reunited.

When I spoke to her last night she told me how lucky she’d been to be put in touch with a medical expert who established the truth.

I listened to her story with particular interest because it is only one more example in a very dark area of our national life I have long been investigating, and which I have come to see as one of the greatest scandals unfolding in Britain today — as shocking as anything I have come across in all my five decades as a journalist.

In the past two years, since the furore over Baby P, the number of children being taken away from their parents by social workers has soared by almost 50 per cent to an all-time record level of nearly 10,000 a year.

And having followed scores of such cases in detail, it is abundantly clear to me that in far too many of them there is absolutely no reason why the families should be torn apart in this way.

Forcibly separating happy, well-cared for children from loving, responsible parents creates a tragedy which will last for the rest of the lives of all those involved — even if they are eventually reunited. The emotional agony if the children are permanently removed hardly bears thinking about.

Of course there is no objection to social workers removing children from parents who have genuinely abused them. As we know from many notorious examples, social workers have failed to take into care children who died as a result.

But a key reason for the rise in the number of children now being seized from their parents is that, precisely to avoid such scandals in the wake of the Baby P case, social workers have gone to the opposite extreme, becoming trigger-happy, snatching children for no good reason.

Since Baby P, social workers have gone to the other extreme, becoming trigger-happy and snatching children for no good reason

What is most shocking about this is that the families then find themselves in the grip of a system which seems horribly rigged against them. Too often these cases will begin on the flimsiest of grounds, as when the social workers are tipped off by a malicious neighbour or an over-zealous teacher.

One mother I know, who holds down a responsible job, lost her two children when her only mistake was to tap her daughter’s arm with a roll of clingfilm.

The next day this was twisted by a foolish teacher into a charge that the girl had been ‘hit with an implement’, and the council paid a psychiatrist £14,000 for a 235-page report arguing that the mother suffered from ‘a borderline personality disorder’, one of the vague, unprovable claims they love to use.

Another lost her three children after she had tripped up on a charity walk, pulling the daughter holding her hand to the ground. When a health visitor reported the bruises the child suffered as a result to social workers, without asking how these had arisen, they sent the mother to one psychiatrist after another until they also found one prepared to say she had a ‘borderline personality disorder’.

One of the sanest and brightest mothers I have come across had her baby removed after the woman had accidentally fallen from a window on the FIRST FLOOR 12 feet from the ground, because the social workers alleged that she had tried to commit suicide.

They rang to tell her they were taking her baby while she lay temporarily paralysed in hospital.

On such dubious grounds, the social workers may arrive to snatch children from their beds, all too often accompanied by a gang of four or more policemen, who seem only too willing to comply with any demands the social workers make.

One mother was breastfeeding her three-hour-old baby on a hospital bed when two social workers and four policemen burst into the room to take the child forcibly from her arms, after a series of false allegations were made against her.

The parents in such cases often find themselves treated like criminals, held for hours in police cells before being released without charge. But worse is to come when they arrive in a family court, where all the normal rules of British justice seem to have been reversed.

The social workers can produce hearsay evidence which may be a tissue of lies, but which the parents are not allowed to question, or submit damning documents to the judge which the parents are not even allowed to read.

If they are represented by solicitors, in most cases forced on them by the council, they often find that their lawyers refuse to oppose the council’s application for a care order — which allows the children to be removed for a longer period — and accept every allegation the council makes.

The system hides itself away behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy

Most family judges are as much part of this broken system as the social workers themselves — one rare exception being the senior family judge who last year castigated the behaviour of Devon social workers as ‘more like Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China than the West of England’.

Meanwhile the children, generally bemused and distraught at what is happening to them, are placed with foster carers, who receive on average £400 a week or £20,000 a year for each child from the state.

The biological parents and children may be allowed to meet for only a few hours a week of rigorously ‘supervised contact’, in a grim council ‘contact centre’.

Any expression of affection or mention of the court case is strictly forbidden and can be punished by suspension of the contact, possibly permanently.

It may sound hard to believe, but I know of cases where children have been groomed by the social workers and their foster carers to believe that their parents no longer love or want them. In several cases I have followed, it is clear that children in foster care are being maltreated or even sexually abused.

Finally, this travesty of justice may wind to its conclusion when, after anything up to two years, a judge agrees that a child can be sent for adoption — although in recent years our adoption rate has markedly fallen, leaving ever more thousands of these children as fodder for a ‘fostering industry’ which is now costing taxpayers more than £3 billion a year.

Obviously there are happier exceptions to this dreadful picture. Some children are rightly saved by social workers from genuine abuse, and there are many good and caring foster homes. But in far too many cases, the other, more tragic scenario has become the norm.

So, if things have gone so terribly wrong with our child protection system, why has this happened — and why have we not heard more about it? It is difficult for outsiders to realise just how corrupted it has become until they experience it at first hand — because the entire system has managed to hide itself away behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy.

It is time this astonishing national scandal was recognised for what it is

Supposedly designed to ‘protect the interests of the children’ by ensuring that they cannot be identified, this secrecy had been used by the system to conceal its workings from public view, by threatening parents with prison for talking about their case to outsiders, and even journalists like me for trying to report what goes on.

It is this cloak of secrecy which more than anything has allowed the system to go so far off the rails. Too many social workers are in the grip of a self-righteous, politically correct ideology which drives them to abuse the power the Government has given them over other people’s lives, in the conviction that they are doing good in the world.

The secrecy which surrounds the way they wield that power means they are hardly ever called to account.

Nothing did more to distort the system in this way than Tony Blair’s personal crusade a few years back to drive up the number of adoptions by setting councils targets for the number of children they place with new families.

They were given huge cash incentives to fulfil their quotas thanks to a policy which, though now technically abandoned, has left a terrible legacy in convincing both social workers and the courts that one of their prime duties is to seize children from their parents, even when there is no good reason for it.

It is time this astonishing national scandal was recognised for what it is, and for the trail of horrors it is perpetrating to be dragged into the light.

S (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 325

Appeal by paternal grandmother of a child based upon the assumption that the judge at first instance had not regarded the grandmother’s claim to be the child’s long term carer as being unrealistic in the context of Re B-S. Appeal allowed.

The central issue in this appeal concerned whether a court had been justified in ruling out the child’s paternal grandmother as a prospective long-term carer for him prior to the full welfare hearing.  The paternal grandmother had been a significant figure in the life of T, the subject of the proceedings.  She had been the subject of two positive assessments by the local authority during the course of the proceedings.  However, at the Issues Resolution Hearing, the Children’s Guardian expressed concern about the approach adopted by the local authority in assessing the grandmother.  As a result, the court directed a further assessment by an independent social worker.  This assessment was negative and led the local authority to change its own position to recommend a plan of adoption for T.  This was also the view of the Children’s Guardian. A seven-day hearing took place in November 2014.  At this hearing, the paternal grandmother sought a special guardianship order so that T could remain in her care.  She was not able to put herself forward as a carer for his younger sibling, N.  The outcome of this hearing was that the application for special guardianship was dismissed and the court ruled that neither child could be brought up in their family of origin.  The order from this hearing recorded the key issues for the final hearing as being whether permanency should be achieved through adoption or long-term foster care, and any contact arrangements.  The outcome of this hearing was the subject of the grandmother’s appeal. The thrust of the appeal was that the judge had not ruled the grandmother out as a carer having conducted a Re B-S type analysis.  The issue of adoption had not been considered at the November hearing and so the judge could not have weighed up the relative merits of the different types of placement nor had she conducted the holistic welfare analysis that was required of her.  She had not tested the local authority’s case against the checklists in the Children Act 1989 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002. The local authority, opposing the appeal, accepted that the arguments at the core of the appellant’s case were valid but submitted that they had no relevance to the context in which the judge conducted the hearing.  The object of the hearing had been to test whether care by the grandmother was a ‘realistic’ option for T.  In doing so, the judge was only doing what she was permitted to do in accordance with R (A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 1625 in which the Court of Appeal emphasised that the process described in Re B-S did not apply to every conceivable option for the long-term care of a child but only to those that were ‘realistic’. McFarlane LJ, giving the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal, concluded that “if the process undertaken by the judge in November was intended to be a process of evaluating one realistic option against another then the judge’s approach fell entirely and profoundly short of what is required” (para. 47).  The question was, therefore, “whether or not the judge was in fact determining that the option of care by the paternal grandmother was not a “realistic option” and therefore one in accordance with Re R that could be removed from the otherwise mandatory welfare and proportionality evaluation” (para. 48).  He concludes that it was ‘not credible’ that an experienced family judge would have failed to establish the structure within which she was making the decision if what she was undertaking was intended to be a full welfare evaluation.  She must, therefore, have understood that she was establishing whether or not continued placement with the grandmother was a ‘realistic’ option for T.  A central issue for the appeal was therefore what is, or can be, regarded as a realistic option and what can be ruled out prior to a full welfare evaluation at a final hearing. On the evidence before the court, it was simply not possible for a court to rule that the paternal grandmother should fall outside the pool of realistic options for care of T.  The quality of the assessment between T and his grandmother was strikingly described in the earlier positive assessments.  Moreover, the status quo argument (that is, T remained placed with his grandmother) was relevant.  A further factor was that the local authority had themselves supported the placement until a few months before the November hearing.  Finally, the negative matters that had led to her being ruled out were based on family dynamics and the risk of future harm.  These were subtle matters that represented only part of the totality of the care that the grandmother could offer. The appeal was therefore allowed, on the basis that the judge could not reasonably have ruled out the grandmother as a realistic option for T’s care.  What was required was a holistic analysis, bearing in mind the strictures of Re B-S and considering this option against the other realistic option(s), being, in this case, a plan of adoption.     Summary by Sally Gore, barrister, Fenners Chambers ___________________________

 Breach of conditions of Bail

Revised Practice and Procedure

Breach of conditions of bail is not a Bail Act Offence, nor is it a contempt of court unless there is some additional feature (Ashley [2004] 1 Cr App R 23).

Pre Charge

The police have a power of arrest where conditions imposed on pre-charge bail have been breached (see section 46A PACE 1984 as inserted by CJPOA 1994 Section 29 (2)). Where a person has been re-arrested, section 37 C (2) (b) PACE gives the police the power to release (again) “without charge, either on bail or without bail”. Section 37 C (4) states explicitly that if a person is released on bail under section 37 C (2)(b), then that person shall be subject to whatever conditions applied before the ‘re-arrest’. It appears that there is no power to change conditions of bail at this point.

Post Charge

Section 7 of the Bail Act 1976 confers power upon the Police to arrest a person if the Constable has reasonable grounds for believing that that person is likely to break any of the conditions of his bail or has reasonable grounds for suspecting that that person has broken any of those conditions.

A person so arrested must be brought as soon as practicable, and in any event within 24 hours of his arrest, before a Justice of the Peace of the Petty Sessions for the area in which he was arrested.

Prosecutors are reminded of R v Culley [2007] EWHC 109 which states that where a person has breached their bail, they must not only be brought before the court ‘as soon as is practicable’ but also be dealt with within 24 hours of arrest (see s7 (4) Bail Act 1976).

Judgement:IMPORTANT !!

UNEXPLAINED INJURY NOT SUFFICIENT TO INCRIMINATE PARENTS

http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed146049   = a recent case plus the following:-

M (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1580

Appeal against fact-finding where the judge had found that one of the parents had caused injury to the child and the other had failed to protect, but could not say which parent had caused the injuries. The child was taken to the GP and then to hospital by the mother. She had raised concerns about the bruising which, she stated, must have been caused by the father. There was significant bruising to the child’s left forearm, further bruising to the right are am the right thigh.
The bruises, the experts all agreed, were in unusual places for a baby to be bruised, certainly in the day-to-day care of the baby. The experts, however, could not come to an agreement as to how the bruises might come about. Swaddling, thrashing in the bath and being trapped by the bars of the cot were all discounted. The judge found that the injuries had been caused by pressure from an object imposed on the baby.
It was further determined that the parent who failed to protect would have been aware of the pain and discomfort of the child, given the severity of the bruising. Also, the house was such that the baby’s distress would have been audible throughout.
The appeal was brought by both parents. The mother argued that a lack of reasoning in the argument that the parents failed to protect led to the judge misdirecting herself as to who caused the injuries.
The father’s appeal criticised the judge’s approach and that the lack of parental care was the reason given by the experts for their conclusion that these were non-accidental injuries.
Essentially, the judge found that, due to the experts being unable to give an explanation, reasonable or unreasonable, for the cause of the injuries, they must have been non-accidental.
Ward LJ giving the judgment for the court stated: “[The expert’s opinion] was the effect of the judge’s view of the case: that absent a parental explanation, there was no satisfactory benign explanation, ergo there must be a malevolent explanation. And it is that leap which troubles me. It does not seem to me that the conclusion necessarily follows unless, wrongly, the burden of proof has been reversed, and the parents are being required to satisfy the court that it is not a non-accidental injury”.

James.lefanu@btinternet.com  is your best bet as an independent consultant as you can see from what he writes below.If he is not free he will probably be able to recommend a colleague !

Dear Christopher Herewith my comments on the panorama programme for next weeks column. Good,as always ,to talk yesterday.BWjames

———- Forwarded message ———- From: James Lefanu <james.lefanu@telegraph.co.uk> Date: 22 January 2014 15:02 Subject: lefanu col

 The late Cassandra Jardine, whose career as a feature writer of this paper will be commemorated with the award this week of the Memorial Prize in her name, campaigned vigorously on behalf of innocent parents accused of the horrific crime of having deliberately injured their children.  In a typically brilliant article published six years ago she outlined the several contentious medical theories that had resulted in so many ‘gross miscarriages of justice’ but hoped ‘the necessary lessons have been learned’.  Regrettably not.

What, I wonder, would she have made of the case of Jill McCartan, featured in the Panorama programme a fortnight ago ‘I want my baby back’ , forced to flee to Spain to escape the tentacles of the Social Services determined to take her newborn son into care.

Two years earlier Jill and her partner had taken their daughter Alyssa, then aged just ten weeks old, to hospital with an unexplained fracture of the arm – where X-rays also revealed three further healing fractures of her ribs and leg.  The medical experts concurred these injuries had been caused deliberately – despite there being not the slightest hint of the sort of circumstantial evidence such as  bruising, pain or swelling of the limbs that might reasonably be expected had they been caused by excess physical force.

The experts, however, failed to comment on ,or  indeed advise the parents, that blood tests had shown Alyssa’s vitamin D levels to be virtually undetectable.  There were clear grounds here for an appeal as she  would almost certainly have had rickets which could only too readily account for those ‘unexplained’ fractures – but astonishing this was turned down on a technicality.  Alyssa was put up for adoption.

Meanwhile Jill was 8 months pregnant with her second child who would, in view of the judgement against her, have also been taken into care at birth.  And so, on the advice of the Lib Dem MP John Hemming, she fled to Spain and went into hiding.

Jill McCartan and her partner are not child abusers but their plight together with three very similar cases highlighted by the Panorama programme, clarify what has become the fundamental issue at stake here – that Cassandra would have recognised only too well.  There is no longer  the slightest possibility of those ‘lessons being learned’ because for all those involved- the medical experts, social workers and the judiciary, to acknowledge there might be would be to concede that they had been instrumental in so many miscarriages of justice in the past.  These parents have little hope  of getting a fair trial in Britain because as John Hemming observes ‘they cannot rely on the evidence being fair’.   Shocking but true.

We should remember the wise words of Hedley J in Re L (Threshold Conditions) [2007] 1 FLR 2050:

“Many parents are hypochondriacs, many parents are criminals or benefit cheats, many parents discriminate against ethnic or sexual minorities, many parents support vile political parties or belong to unusual or militant religions. All of these follies are visited upon their children, who may well adopt or ‘model’ them in their own lives but those children could not be removed for those reasons.”

http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed137123

Above is a link to further evidence that unexplained injuries cannot be pinned onto parents as easily as before.

Domestic Violence not sufficient reason to remove a child

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2014/B110.html

This is a set of care proceedings heard in Manchester County Court, but it raises some important issues of wider importance.

It was a case in which the Local Authority obtained an Emergency Protection Order removing IMA in August 2013, and after that Interim Care Orders sanctioning IMA remaining in foster care, up until the final hearing, which took place in August 2014 a year after the initial removal.

The Local Authority had been seeking a plan of adoption, supported by the Guardian, but this had changed to permanent placement with a relative. It is of note that the plan of adoption had been supported by the Agency Decision Makers (whose job it is to assess separately to social workers whether the circumstances of an individual case mean that adoption is the right plan)

The Judge at final hearing found that the threshold criteria were not made out, and thus the child would be going home and no statutory orders would be made.

The threshold criteria was based on the risk of the child being exposed to domestic violence (which is, on the revised wording of the Children Act 1989 a matter which on its own is capable of meeting threshold). That had two aspects really (i) Was father a risk of violence or violent behaviour and (ii) was the child in mother’s care going to be exposed to the father.

The fact that the Judge found that threshold was not met therefore was significant. This wasn’t a case with a suspicious injury which on full investigation was found to be an accident or a peculiar medical condition, but rather that the child ought never really to have been removed. The Judge was not saying that the threshold HAD been met but due to changes the risks had dissipated or become manageable, but that the situation of this family had NEVER crossed the section 31 threshold.

And the Judge had advised the Local Authority in a number of hearings that he was concerned that the section 31 threshold was not made out on the evidence that they had presented and was giving them the opportunity to flesh out their evidence if they had more information which was not before the Court. He told them that on 17th February 2014, 14th April 2014 and 23rd June, before making it official at the final hearing by ruling that their evidence was not sufficient

BOTH PARENTS HAVE LEARNING DIFFICULTIES BUT…………………………

Council pays £12,000 damages for removal of child

Parents’ Articles 6 and 8 rights breached

In Re H (A Child: Breach of Convention Rights: Damages) [2014] EWFC 38 HHJ Clifford Bellamy, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, has awarded damages of £12,000 against Leicester City Council for breaches of the ECHR Articles 6 and 8 rights of the parents whose only child was taken into care.

The breaches arose in care proceedings brought by the local authority in April, 2014 in respect of a little girl, H.  H is now aged 17 months.  Both parents have learning disabilities. At the final hearing before HHJ Bellamy all parties agreed that the appropriate welfare outcome was that there should be a supervision order for a period of 12 months.

The parents asserted that the way the local authority had dealt with the case before proceedings were issued gave rise to a breach of their rights under Articles 6 and 8. They sought relief in the form of declarations and damages. The local authority accepted that by its conduct it had breached the parents Article 6 and Article 8 rights. It agreed to most of the declarations sought by the parents but did not agree that the parents were entitled to damages and submitted that if they were an appropriate amount would be £1,000 for each parent.

HHJ Bellamy found:

“H is these parents’ first child. Whilst it may be the case that had the local authority issued care proceedings soon after H was born an interim care order would have been made, the fact is that proceedings were not commenced promptly. They were not issued until shortly before H’s first birthday. It was not until June 2014 that these parents eventually managed to secure the return of their daughter to their care, exactly a year after she was placed with Mr and Mrs B. Whilst it is true that during that year the parents were having regular contact, supervised contact at a local authority contact centre is far removed from the joys of fulltime, unsupervised care of one’s own child. The residential assessment which began in June 2014 could have begun a year earlier. The cognitive assessment of the parents, not finally obtained until May 2014, could have been obtained months earlier. Unlike the parents in Coventry City Council v C, B, C and CH [2013] 2 FLR 987 these parents’ have suffered a loss of time with their daughter which was both unnecessarily lengthy and deeply distressing.”

He added:

“In my judgment the nature and extent of the poor practice admitted by the local authority is such that an adverse impact on these parents was inevitable. They would have needed great fortitude to be able to take such an experience in their stride. Far from having great fortitude it is clear that these are vulnerable learning disabled parents who had no-one to speak up for them.”

Having considered a number of authorities as examples of awards made in other cases, the judge determined that there were too few to be able to be confident that they indicate the broad parameters for making an assessment. He concluded that “an award of damages of £6,000 for each parent would achieve ‘just satisfaction’ in all the circumstances of this case.”

Family Courts:- 99.7% of parents lose against the “ss” in court(National statistics) and those who win are usually those who represent themselves as most legal aid lawyers in family courts are “professional losers” not on your side at all ! .If you are a couple let one have a lawyer and the other act in person.State facts not opinions , never interrupt and you will at least have been allowed to speak unlike many parents who lose their children to adoption for life without saying a single word ! Answer all questions from police or barristers whenever possible by “yes”,”no”,I don’t remember, or “I don’t know” . Never complain about any social worker or police officer in court.Sometimes the judge will ask you if you think there is a conspiracy against you,pointing out that social workers,mental and medical experts,lawyers,and the guardian are all against you so how can you think you know better than all these highlyqualified people?This is to try and ridicule you and make it look as though you have a persecution complex ! Always reply “NO” of course not! Tell the judge that social workers try desperately to COVER UP THEIR MISTAKES .Say that is what they are doing in your case and that civil servants are notorious for trying to cover up mistakes rather than admit them !Recite boldly:-

” Birds of a feather flock together”
Social workers, judges, guardians ,family court solicitors and their carefully chosen “experts” always “stick together” never admitting a mistake and are fanatically eager to cover up rather than rectify any errors of judgement they have made .Just like our wonderful M.Ps fiddling their expenses ! No conspiracy ,just SNOUTS IN THE TROUGH ! Remember always:-

“Those who live off the system protect the system!”

The Hague Convention demands that children be returned to or allowed to remain in the country where they are “habitually resident” .There are however important exceptions. “Child objections

The judicial or administrative authority may also refuse to order the return of the child if it finds that the child objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views.

Article 13(b)

The judicial or administrative authority of the requested State is not bound to order the return of the child if the person, institution or other body which opposes its return establishes that ¦ there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.”

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights Decided( above) that the best interests of the child would be the deciding factor to determine whether that child could remain in Ireland. Previously the question concerned “habitual residence”.

Neulinger & Shuruk v. Switzerland

A Momentous and Disturbing Ruling in Europe on the Hague Abduction Convention …

LEAVING THE COUNTRY .  If no court has placed an order on you or on  any children you wish to take with you then  YOU (the parent) ARE FREE TO COME AND GO between UK and Ireland any time as you please !!

Remember there is no forced adoption in Southern Ireland .Donegal have a friendly bunch of social workers ;Otherwise,the West coast is recommended,(especially areas where Sinn Fein dominate as they still dislike British authority!)

 (no passports needed on the ferry to Southern Ireland)

In,Spain,France,or Italy;It is easy to change your name in the uk by declaration before a solicitor and then register with a new N.H number
(https://ni-apply.co.uk/)If you wish to vanish abroad

Alternatively you can report to the local
social services in your new country before the ss from the uk find you.

REMEMBER :- As I stated above,a child born in Ireland of British parents has the right to be an Irish Citizen, but to actually become an Irish Citizen you should apply as soon as possible to get the child an Irish passport.

I do NOT advise you to kidnap your own children if they are already in care
as you will probably end up in jail if you do! There is no extradition
treaty for criminals in N.Cyprus, but Turkish police sometimes expel them if the offence is serious enough . For non criminals especially those who do not break the laws in N.Cyprus however is 100% SAFE !!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-131560/Brits-turn-Cyprus-Costa-del-Crime.html

 Escape legally (nobody can stop you!) whilst pregnant or well before you have been officially notified of coming court proceedings and you will be safe from forced adoption  ! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9383388/A-baby-comes-home-but-a-mother-remains-in-jail.html#disqus_thread

FREE ADVICE on how to survive and how to work the system in your chosen country (BUT PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR MONEY!)Help is available for the following destinations and on the following conditions.

PLEASE please do not arrive penniless expecting Financial help ! Many of those working in our support networks were parents like yourselves who escaped the ss with enough to support themselves but not enough to financially support you. Please do not invade their houses or expect to stay as non paying guests.If they do put you up do not stay more than a day or two.Never abuse their hospitality please !Their advice on finding flats to avoid expensive hôtels and B and Bs is free.Their advice about hospitals,doctors,foreign social workers,nationality issues,visa problems (for some),job prospects,etc etc is free and is of immense value to bewildered parents arriving in a foreign country.Please show your appreciation and do not abuse those who help you.

I never advise anyone to lie to a judge ! That is why I advise parents who flee as follows:-

1:-Never tell relatives or friends your address abroad .That way they cannot reveal your whereabouts if they truthfully do not know them.

2:-Do not leave UK if you cannot support yourself (with the help of a partner or relatives if necessary) financially for at least the 6 months it will take for you to get benefits.

IRELAND:-   Brian Rothery   email =    br@rothery.com

or Andrew Austin (successful escapee!)  email=   adtaustin@icloud.com

 

FRANCE:- Florence Bellone  email = flobellone@ntlworld.com

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-France

Richard Roberts: email = richardroberts31@gmail.com

Gena Jones:- (France)

My website is www.fleeingfamilies.org I also have a Facebook page called fleeing families

Romain Haudrechy romainhaudrechy@yahoo.fr

nathalie shelton nathalie.shelton@live.fr

kathryn kathrynvassoney@gmail.com

anais keim anaisfreestil@hotmail.fr

Catherine Boulet  cboulet76@yahoo.fr

Julie    operationjulie@gmail.com

Near Lyon, France

I can’t help financially, but I can offer emotional support and friendship in both English and French.

GERMANY:-Meran email = Mjprediger@mail.com

SPAIN:-  A family who escaped will now help others !

Tel 007933749230

YES THEY CAN BE BEATEN – VIEW THE PROOF HERE ON THIS VIDEO

See me on Channel 4 News

http://www.channel4.com/news/revealed-the-networks-helping-families-flee-social-services

MISSING PERSONS ??  USE SKYPE !!

Sometimes the “SS” will report  you, a fleeing parent (and child) as a missing person even though you are in contact with family and not missing at all .Phone calls are not enough to stop police enquiries so use SKYPE ! Tell your parents or other relatives to arrange a short SKYPE interview with them at a certain time and notify police a few hours before so that they can watch too ! A  person looking well and chatting sensibly can then no longer be classed as missing !

YES THEY CAN BE BEATEN – VIEW THE PROOF HERE ON THIS VIDEO

See  Channel 4 News

http://www.channel4.com/news/revealed-the-networks-helping-families-flee-social-services

WHAT IF A JUDGE THREATENS YOU WITH CONTEMPT (and jail) if you refuse reveal your child’s address  ? REFUSE TO ENTER THE WITNESS BOX;REFUSE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS

If your parents,partner, or friends are questioned by police following the escape of a parents and child from the UK never lie ;just refuse to answer any questions at all and claim your right to remain silent if they try and found out where they escaped to . .Similarly if you are summoned to court to be questioned by a judge never lie ,just REFUSE TO GO IN THE WITNESS BOX AND REFUSE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS AT ALL ! you can however quote the case below to prove your right to do this ! I repeat do not enter the witness box if accused of “contempt” for refusing to divulge the whereabouts of any escaped parent and child .You cannot be compelled to do so;Once you say “I don’t know where they are” the judge can decide you are lying and can jail you for contempt.Say nothing and the judge can do nothing !

The absolute right of a person accused of contempt to remain silent, which carries with it the absolute right not to go into the witness box, was established in Comet Products UK Ltd v Hawkex Plastics Ltd [1971] 2 QB 67, where this court held that such a person is not a compellable witness.)

Comet Products UK Ltd v Hawkex Plastics; CA 1971

References: [1971] 2 QB 67, [1971] 1 All ER 1141
Coram: Lord Denning MR, Megaw LJ
Ratio: The court was asked whether a defendant should be cross-examined on an affidavit sworn by him on an application by the plaintiff to commit him for contempt.
Held: The cross-examination was likely to cover issues in the action and on that basis it was held that it should not have been allowed. A person accused of contempt, like the defendant in a criminal trial, has the right to remain silent.
Lord Denning MR said:

This right is to be distinguished both from the privilege against self-incrimination and from legal professional privilege, each of which may entitle a witness in certain circumstances to decline to answer a particular question but neither of which entitles the witness to refuse to go into thewitness box or refuse to take the oath (or affirm): see Re X (Disclosure for Purposes of Criminal Proceedings) [2008] EWHC 242 (Fam), [2008] 2 FLR 944, para 9.

To ALL pregnant mothers who want to leave the UK to avoid forced adoption!

If you give me written and verbal proof by phone (0033607939352),and email(ian@monaco.mc) or fax (0033493220967) all of the following 4 items all together same day, so I do not have to chase after any that are missing:-I will refund the costs of coach and ferry travel for mother ,partner/spouse and children from UK to the borders or airports of France  or Ireland or  to other European countries if agreed with me in writing beforehand.

1:-Hospital document proving your personal pregnancy  and birth if applicable

2:- Letter from social workers showing  they are threatening to take the baby

3:-Official receipts  for cash paid out for rail,coach,and boat charges plus a total  claimed on one sheet showing each item plus the total claimed ;.

4:- You phone me  on 0033626875684 from a foreign phone in S. Ireland , France or any other European country so I know you are there  as the number will be shown on my screen,  and I WILL PHONE YOU STRAIGHT BACK

How do I send it?

You give me your uk bank details = sort code ,account number,and exact name of the person receiving the cash .I then send it bank to bank and it gets there in less than 24 hours

IAN PS:- Please note once more that I am happy to refund travel expenses but cannot support families after arrival though I usually can pass on some useful contacts. Do not land in a foreign country with no personal resources expecting to collect benefits ! That just won’t happen.You need outside support to survive if you have no cash and no job lined up.Sometimes a father remains in uk earning money to support the mother and baby in their new home;others rely on extended family support. The “SS” may eventually track you down,and if they do you must stay and fight them in the courts and WIN.Do not panic or run away as most (but not all ) who stay to fight do win !

I advise against flight with children if they are already under a care order as you would risk prison…..

ed-ectopia@live.ie

— Help available to families fleeing —

Fuller information is given here http://www.ectopia.org/ireland.html

The most important issue in considering fleeing to Ireland is can you afford to as your UK benefits will be stopped and there are no benefits in Ireland for two years.

You will not get advice or help from the help network in Ireland unless you can afford to come and they are sure that the issues SS are using against you are not so serious that they cannot be defended against in Ireland. If you arrive homeless and penniless no one can help you and, unless you can demonstrate that you can provide for your family, you will be pursued and your children returned where an order has been taken out in the UK.

If you cannot demonstrate to an Irish court that you can provide your

family with accommodation and the other necessities of life, they will not support you against the UK authorities and there is European legislation which can, and probably will, enforce the return of the children.

?

A Good Samaritan is available to help single mothers and small families to relocate to S.Ireland (but NOT other countries)  English is spoken widely there and it is family friendly. Accommodation is cheap and plentiful. The Good Samaritan (who has a family) also offers help on arrival after a cheap flight.

br@rothery.com.

samaratans

.Note from EditorAs I will not put a Good Samaritan and the excellent offer now available at risk I will need some proof that applicants are genuine. Applicants can have full personal information about me as I am a retired author and journalist living in Ireland. If I am in any doubt about the authenticity of an applicant, I may require a phone conversation, or even meeting them in Ireland first, before passing them on to the Good Samaritan; however, I tend to recognize genuine cases straightaway.

SUGGESTED STATEMENT FOR MOTHERS IN IRISH COURTS .

Neulinger and Shiruk versus United Kingdom  was the case where the Grand Chamber of The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the best interests of the child took precedence over habitual residence.

I represent MYSELF as that is the only way that I can SAY WHAT I WANT IN COURT .

I came to Ireland to escape the FORCED ADOPTION of my baby that UK social services have said they would arrange.

I believe them because the National Fostering Agency (recruiting fosterers and adoptive parents for local authorities) founded by two UK social workers about 15 years ago was recently sold to a commercial firm called Graphite for more than £130 million !Forced adoption ids driven by money for those who practice it.

I have NO criminal record,NO problem with drugs or alcohol,NO learning difficulties,NO mental problems,NO risk of domestic violence since I am single,

I have been promised continual financial support by my family while I am in Ireland and they have in fact supported me ever since my arrival.

I BELIEVE MY BABY IS SUFFERING SEVERE EMOTIONAL ABUSE BY  SEPARATION FROM A LOVING MOTHER SO I REQUEST THE COURT TO RESTORE MY CHILD TO ME;

Also :- A MOTHER WHO SUCCESSFULLY ESCAPED and beat the ss in the courts ! She now helps others:- Katy Brown tel 00353892336329 or 00447450236065 katybrown19852@gmail.com

Also recommended is agency Daftie near the N.Irish border to find flats for reasonable rentals.

SABOTAGE FORCED ADOPTIONS !
IF the “SS” threaten to take your children for adoption,make sure they never forget you .Hug them tight at “last contact” so they cannot easily be removed while you repeat to them that wicked people HAVE KIDNAPPED THEM and are stealing them for money ,and to say no to adoption when they try to give them a horrible new mummy and daddy !

THIS AT LEAST SHOULD HELP TO SABOTAGE ANY UNWANTED ADOPTIONS AND MAKE SURE YOUR KIDS WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU AND GET IN TOUCH LATER .Not many “adopters” will want to take in a child who has been told to say “NO” to adoption in any case.

 

Apply to the court for contact and they will soon tell you if your children have really been adopted !

Google “Winona Varney” or “Von and Tammy”TO SEE SUCCESS STORIES.

MESSAGE TO MOTHERS WHOSE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN FORCED ADOPTED

All is not lost ,you have to try and find your adopted children.No law stops you plastering their photos when small with brief stories all over the internet,under facebook,twitter,Genes united,friends united, and other similar sites.They may even be looking for you right now !

Here are two success stories ;- 1:- Winona Varney and her sister Danielle in which I was very much involved who I helped to happily reunite with their birth mother, and 2:- Von and Tammy who look more like sisters than mother and daughter and were happily reunited for good once they found each other.

1:- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7958099/She-defied-the-law-to-find-her-mother.html

2 Von and Tammy on ITV local news – YouTube

Remember also that social workers often LIE and say a child has been adopted when it is in fact still in care ! Only believe a letter from the court not words from the SS !

To be sure apply yourself (as instructed at the beginning of this page) for contact and again for the adoption placement to be revoked.The court would have to reply that the adoption had already been formalised or that the child had been returned!

If you are searching for a child that may have been adopted ,put up “wanted missing child”notices on genes united and friends united.Use twitter,faceboof and any other sites that an old fella like me might never have heard of ! Make a special site for her using her own name because even if it has been changed someone somewhere might recognise her and get in touch with you!

HOW TO OPPOSE AN ORDER FOR AN ADOPTION PLACEMENT . Then how to revoke the placement and lastly how to oppose the adoption ORDERthat follows a successful placement with prospective adoptive parents and is necessary to finalise the adoption process. 

Orders contemplating non-consensual adoption – care orders with a plan for adoption, placement orders and adoption orders – are “a very extreme thing, a last resort”, only to be made where “nothing else will do”, where “no other course is possible in [the child’s] interests”, they are “the most extreme option”, a “last resort – when all else fails” – Munby LJ in Re BS

 Sir James Munby ,President of the family Courts confirms in the case below that although hearsay evidence is admissible in family courts direct evidence from someone in the witness box testifying under oath should normally be preferred if the two conflict.

Quote the case below and the three principles that come from it

In the matter of A (A Child) v Darlington Borough Council and (1) M (2) F (3) GM and GF and (4) A (by his children’s guardian) [2015] EWFC 11 (“Re A”) – read judgment

In a scathing judgment, the president of the Family Division has condemned as “social engineering” a local authority’s application to remove a baby boy permanently from the care of his father and place him for adoption.

The case was, he said,

an object lesson in, almost textbook example of, how not to embark upon and pursue a care case.

In addressing these failings, Munby P identified “three fundamentally important points”.

The first point, vital for practitioners on the ground, is that findings of fact must be based on evidence, not suspicion and speculation. As the judge observed, material in local authority files is often second or third-hand hearsay. Although hearsay is admissible in care proceedings, if challenged, a local authority will have to establish its accuracy.

In this case, the original social worker’s “concerns” about the father were repeated and adopted by other practitioners (including the children’s guardian), without further enquiry. When the case reached court, that enquiry revealed what Sir James described witheringly as

a tottering edifice built on inadequate foundations.

Stripped of suspicion, speculation and hyperbole, the majority of the factual case collapsed and was reduced to familiar assertions that the parent “lacks honesty with professionals” or “minimises matters of importance”.

The second fundamental point is that a successful application for a care order must link the facts relied on to the threshold test, i.e., why do the facts asserted lead to the conclusion that the child is at risk of suffering significant harm?

In this case, the local authority thus had to show how the fact that the father had had sex with an underage girl of 13 when he was aged 17, affected his ability to care for his baby son some six years later. How did the social worker’s complaint that he “failed to acknowledge the immoral nature of the offences committed” support the assessment that his child was at risk of neglect?

The judge was equally unimpressed by the local authority’s “concern” about the father’s involvement with the English Defence League (EDL) – referred to in the social worker’s assessment as “a barbaric protestor group”. The fact (“if fact it be”) that the father was a member of the EDL (“probably only for a short time”) was, he said,

neither here nor there, whatever one may think of its beliefs or policies.

The social worker’s repeated reference to the “immoral aspects of the father’s behaviour”, prompted the judge’s third fundamental point that, in the “wise and powerful words” of Hedley J in Re L (Care: Threshold Criteria [2007] 1 FLR 2050:

society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent…some children will experience disadvantage and harm, while others flourish in atmospheres of loving security and emotional stability. These are the consequences of fallible humanity and it is not the provenance of the state to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting. In any event, it simply could not be done.

In the same vein, as Baroness Hale explained in the celebrated Supreme Court decision In re B (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Threshold Criteria) [2013] UKSC 33:

We are all frail human beings, with our fair share of unattractive character traits, which sometimes manifest themselves in bad behaviours which may be copied by our children. But the state does not and cannot take away the children of all the people who commit crimes, who abuse alcohol or drugs, who suffer from physical and mental illnesses or who espouse antisocial political or religious beliefs.

In this case, local authority concerns also included an alleged “history of drug abuse”. Once probed, the evidence established the father “may have taken cannabis on occasions”. However Sir James observed,

the reality is that many parents smoke cannabis on occasions without their children coming to harm… [P]arental abuse of alcohol or drugs of itself and without more is no basis for taking children into care.

On the positive side, the father was recognised to love the child, to be capable of meeting his day-to-day needs and to have shown commitment in supervised contact. Taking account of the “greatly weakened” local authority case and “surveying the wide canvass”, the judge concluded

The judge says “I can accept that the father may not be the best of parents, he may be less than a suitable role model, but that is not enough to justify a care order, let alone adoption.”

para 86

I accept, and find, that there have on occasions been episodes of domestic discord between the father, his mother and more particularly his step-father, that drink has played a significant part in this, that the police have on occasions been called out, and that there was a particularly physical confrontation with violence on 3 December 2013. I accept also that there was some lack of frankness on the part of both the father and his mother in relation to the accounts they gave the local authority of that incident. This history, however, needs to be kept in perspective. Neither the number nor the frequency nor the gravity of these incidents is such, in my judgment, as to cause any major concern. Moreover, it is clear to me, having heard their evidence and watched them carefully throughout the hearing, that, despite their differences and notwithstanding these incidents, the relationship between the father and his mother is, overall, positive and mutually supportive

“[Counsel] seeks to develop Hedley J’s point. He submits that:

‘many parents are hypochondriacs, many parents are criminals or benefit cheats, many parents discriminate against ethnic or sexual minorities, many parents support vile political parties or belong to unusual or militant religions. All of these follies are visited upon their children, who may well adopt or “model” them in their own lives but those children could not be removed for those reasons.’

I agree with [counsel]’s submission”.

The other is the observation of Baroness Hale of Richmond JSC (para 143):

“We are all frail human beings, with our fair share of unattractive character traits, which sometimes manifest themselves in bad behaviours which may be copied by our children. But the State does not and cannot take away the children of all the people who commit crimes, who abuse alcohol or drugs, who suffer from physical or mental illnesses or disabilities, or who espouse antisocial political or religious beliefs.”

  1. I respectfully agree with all of that. It follows that I also agree with what His Honour Judge Jack said in North East Lincolnshire Council v G & L [2014] EWFC B192, a judgment that attracted some attention even whilst I was hearing this case:
    1. “I deplore any form of domestic violence and I deplore parents who care for children when they are significantly under the influence of drink. But so far as Mr and Mrs C are concerned there is no evidence that I am aware of that any domestic violence between them or any drinking has had an adverse effect on any children who were in their care at the time when it took place. The reality is that in this country there must be tens of thousands of children who are cared for in homes where there is a degree of domestic violence (now very widely defined) and where parents on occasion drink more than they should, I am not condoning that for a moment, but the courts are not in the business of social engineering. The courts are not in the business of providing children with perfect homes. If we took into care and placed for adoption every child whose parents had had a domestic spat and every child whose parents on occasion had drunk too much then the care system would be overwhelmed and there would not be enough adoptive parents. So we have to have a degree of realism about prospective carers who come before the courts.”

It boils down to three important principles as elaborated in the case above by Sir James Munby (President of the family courts) and summarised by myself

I SUMMARISE HIS JUDGEMENT AS FOLLOWS :-It boils down to three important principles :-

1:- Hearsay (evidence from persons who do not attend court or take the oath) if contradicted and challenged by a parent in person must be backed up by factual evidence from the L.A and cannot by itself justify a care order.

2:- Even if the allegations against parents are established the local authority must prove that they have caused or will probably cause significant harm to the child or children concerned.

3:-If the lifestyles of the parents are unconventional or immoral or punctuated by occasional noisy domestic spats and episodes of drunkenness those things alone do not justify a care order.S

I accept, and find, that there have on occasions been episodes of domestic discord between the father, his mother and more particularly his step-father, that drink has played a significant part in this, that the police have on occasions been called out, and that there was a particularly physical confrontation with violence on 3 December 2013. I accept also that there was some lack of frankness on the part of both the father and his mother in relation to the accounts they gave the local authority of that incident. This history, however, needs to be kept in perspective. Neither the number nor the frequency nor the gravity of these incidents is such, in my judgment, as to cause any major concern. Moreover, it is clear to me, having heard their evidence and watched them carefully throughout the hearing, that, despite their differences and notwithstanding these incidents, the relationship between the father and his mother is, overall, positive and mutually supportive

H (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 1131

Appeal by mother against placement orders in respect of her three youngest children on the grounds that that judge’s approach was not Re B-S compliant. Appeal allowed and remitted for rehearing.

Relevant facts
The court was concerned with three children aged 6, 5 and 2. The mother had ten children in total, all of whom had at some point been involved with Children’s Services and subject to care proceedings. In September 2013 proceedings were issued by the local authority following allegations made by an older sibling against the children’s father and concerns regarding the general level of neglect in the family home, and in January 2015 Judge Sharpe made full care orders. However, at no point were the three children removed from their mother’s care. A safety plan was agreed that included the requirement that the father stay away from the family home. In June 2015, however, following allegations by an older sibling ‘O’ that the father had been at the home in breach of the safety plan, the local authority sought removal of the children, who were placed together in foster care.

In considering the allegations made by ‘O’ in a fact-finding hearing, Judge Sharpe had before him the transcript of O’s ABE interview, evidence from the social worker and her notes, and oral evidence from the parents and an older sibling. Judge Sharpe found the allegations made by O proved, to include findings that the safety plan had been breached and that the children had been forced to lie to professionals about their father’s presence, and relevant to this appeal, the fact that O had been dangled over the bannisters by his armpits by F. Notwithstanding those findings, Judge Sharpe declined to make final orders (the local authority having applied for placement for adoption orders) and decided instead to give the parents a final chance to see how, if at all, their reflection on the court’s findings might impact their parenting.

When the matter returned before Judge Sharpe on 11 March 2016, the situation had not improved and the local authority continued to seek placement for adoption orders. The court considered that the father continued to pose a risk to the children and that the mother could not be trusted to protect the children from the father. Judge Sharpe then went on to say “Having rejected the one alternative placed before me, I consider that the position has been reached where nothing else will do for these children but the making of placement orders…”[28].

The appeal
The mother appealed the decision on several wide-ranging grounds; permission to appeal was granted by Theis J on Ground 2 (relating to the judge’s finding about F holding O over the bannisters) and Ground 4 (that the judge had failed to afford the required respect and approach dictated by Article 8 ECHR).

The appeal was heard by McFarlane LJ (delivering judgment) and Laws LJ.

Ground 2:
The mother argued that Judge Sharpe had been wrong in that no reason was given for him preferring O’s account over that of his sibling (or parents), and no consideration given of the fact that O’s account in the ABE interview had differed from what O had told a social worker. The mother argued that the judge had ‘reversed’ the burden of proof in asking rhetorically why O would lie about something before concluding that he had not and preferring his account.

The Court of Appeal held that the judge had afforded proper weight and consideration to the ABE interview and was justified in finding O’s account in that interview to be credible notwithstanding the discrepancy with what he told the social worker (which could be explained by the circumstances). Moreover, the Court found that this had been just one finding within a raft of others and that proportionality was required when looking at the ‘fine detail of a judgment on a particularly narrow point when there is a whole range of allegations to be considered’ [53]. The Court considered that that whilst the judgment may have fallen short of the standard required by Re: V [2015] EWCA Civ 274, it did not materially affect the court’s subsequent decisions nor would it on itself merit a re-hearing of the welfare decision.

Ground 4:
The mother argued inter alia that the judge had erred in adopting a linear approach in reaching his conclusion, having rejected the option of returning the children to their mother and subsequently accepting the alternative of adoption, without embarking on a full balancing exercise of the pros and cons of each placement, and without giving any consideration to the possibility of long term foster care. The local authority argued that the Court should read the judgment within the context of Judge Sharpe’s other detailed judgments within the proceedings which reflected consistent careful analysis and an overarching awareness that adoption must be the last resort (hence, for example, declining to make final orders after the fact find in the hope that the parents may yet turn it around). The LA also submitted that the option of long term foster care simply hadn’t been put before the court by any of the parties.

The Court of Appeal upheld the mother’s appeal on Ground 4. It considered that whilst the judge was clearly experienced and very familiar with the case, the requirement in Re B-S to give an adequately reasoned judgment had not been met, and that the comment at para 28 could not be ‘anything other than the description of a linear approach’ [79]. In respect of the absence of consideration of long term foster care, the Court of Appeal noted that the Guardian had not supported the LA’s proposal at first instance that if an adoptive placement for all three children was not found, a placement for the youngest should be considered; in the Guardian’s view the three children should not be separated. The Court also accepted the submissions that the children had grown up knowing their seven siblings, and that the impact of severing so many ties had not been properly evaluated. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal held that judge’s analysis fell short of the requisite global holistic evaluation of all the available options, and, despite the inevitable negative impact on the children of allowing the appeal and incurring further delay, held that the appeal must succeed and the matter be remitted.

Summary by Esther Lieu, barrister, 3PB

Evaluating Expert Witness Psychological Reports: Exploring Quality, was part funded by the Family Justice Council as part of their commitment to expert witness work and the continued review of standards across all expert witnesses.

Results of this study, the first systematic quality evaluation of expert evidence of this nature, indicate variability in report quality.

The study examined 126 expert psychological reports submitted in family court proceedings from 180 court bundles across three  courts located in the UK. Court proceedings took place between 2009 and 2011and covered both adult and child assessments.

Using four experts (three forensic psychology and one clinical psychology), the study evaluated  the quality of court reports using criteria relating to the stated  qualifications of the psychologists providing expert reports and applying a framework of quality measures drawn from established criteria.

Key findings of the report were:

  • The reports were of variable quality.
  • The qualifications of 20% of instructed psychologists evaluated as inadequately qualified for the role on the basis of their submitted curriculum vitae.
  • According to information gleaned from the submitted CV, 90% of instructed experts maintained no clinical practice external to the provision of expert witness work.
  • Two thirds of the reports reviewed were rated as below the expected standard, with one third between good and excellent.
  • In one court, all expert witness psychology reports were generated by witness companies, who take a commission for the instructions.

The reports rated as ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ were characterised by a number of factors including: use of graduate or assistant psychologists to compile case background and in some cases to interview parents, overuse of psychometrics, absence of support for opinion, and making uninformed psychological statements.

UCLan’s Professor Jane L Ireland, Chartered Psychologist, Forensic Psychologist and author of the report, who is based in the School of Psychology, said:

“The crucial decisions made by family courts on issues such as the custody of children, domestic violence and sexual violence have life changing consequences.

“Although there are some unavoidable limitations in a study of this nature, such as sample size, we were concerned about the limited stated qualifications and current clinical experience of some of the experts commissioned to provide reports. Only one in 10 of those producing court reports appeared to maintain a clinical practice but seem to have become full time professional ‘expert’ witnesses.

“The under-use of recognised methods to assess risk in cases involving domestic violence, general violence and sexual violence, experts commenting on mental health and yet having no demonstrable background in that area, are significant areas worthy of further research.”

 

In re P (A child) 2016    SUCCESSFULLY APPEALING AGAINST A PLACEMENT !

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2016/3.html

The Court of Appeal conclude that a Judge who made a Placement Order (thus authorising a child to be placed for adoption) had not conducted a sufficiently robust analysis of the relative merits of the placement options before making that decision.  The Judge had set out in the judgment what he was required to do, but the Court of Appeal say that he didn’t actually do it.

Revoking a Placement order for Adoption After it has been made

Remember adoption comes in two stages 1:-Adoption placement  2:-Adoption Order.

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 received Royal Assent and therefore became law on 7th November 2002. However, the Act finally came into full effect on 30th December 2005. One of the provisions was that  Freeing Orders  for Adoption were replaced by Placement Orders.

After one year has expired from the date of the placement order for adoption, the local authority are bound by law to inform the former parents whether an adoption order has been made and (if not) whether the child is currently placed for adoption.

If the child has not been adopted after 12 months then the parents are legally entitled to apply to The High Court for the placement order to be revoked (cancelled) on the grounds that they wish to resume parental responsibility.

While the application is pending the adoption agency or local authority having parental responsibility shall not place the child for adoption without the leave of the court.

Court of Appeal gives important guidance on adoption applications

“Sloppy practice” must stop, warns Court

The Court of Appeal comprising Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, Sir James Munby, the president of the Family Division, and Lady Justice Black has given important guidance as to the proper approach to applications for adoption orders and for leave to oppose adoption orders.

In an unanimous judgment in Re B-S (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146, the President said:

“We have real concerns, shared by other judges, about the recurrent inadequacy of the analysis and reasoning put forward in support of the case for adoption, both in the materials put before the court by local authorities and guardians and also in too many judgments. This is nothing new. But it is time to call a halt.” [30]

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2013/1146.ht

See especially:-
Para34:-First, there must be proper evidence both from the local authority and from the guardian. The evidence must address all the options which are realistically possible and must contain an analysis of the arguments for and against each option. As Ryder LJ said in Re R (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1018, para 20 , what is required is: evidence of the lack of alternative options for the children and an analysis of the evidence that is accepted by the court sufficient to drive it to the conclusion that nothing short of adoption is appropriate for the children.

The same judge indicated in Re S, K v The London Borough of Brent [2013] EWCA Civ 926, para 21, that what is needed is: An assessment of the benefits and detriments of each option for placement and in particular the nature and extent of the risk of harm involved in each of the options.

McFarlane LJ made the same point in Re G (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 965, para 48, when he identified: the need to take in to account the negatives, as well as the positives, of any plan to place a child away from her natural family.

We agree with all of this.

Lastly if the judge seems dead set on adoption and against returning a child to the birth parents you do have an alternative approach…..

Request the judge to make an order for “special guardianship”(SGO) on the grounds that at least this will mean contact is not lost for ever ! You can reasonably request contact four times per year if you can convince the court that you will not use contact to undermine the SGO placement.

The Prospective Adopters v London Borough of Croydon 2014

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2014/331.html

Permission to appeal was given because the judge had not explained why all alternatives to adoption were impossible and in particular “special guardianship”

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/HCJ/2014/1491.html

The Judge in this case concluded that an adoption order was preferable for this child than SGO, weighing the pros and cons of each type of order, and bearing in mind that adoption could not be sanctioned unless nothing else will doThe point is however that the judge seriousl considered special guardianship as an option but rejected it largely because the child had very special needs

Re B (A child) 2014

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2014/561.html

And above, a rehearing was ordered because the magistrates and subsequently the judge had NOT sufficiently demonstrated that adoption was the ONLY feasible course to take.Surely however forced adoption can never be the only solution since nearly every country in W.Europe finds solutions to family problems WITHOUT forced-adoption so the UK could do the same !

MR JUSTICE MOSTYN said”PARA 35. The proposition of the merits of adoption is advanced almost as a truism but if it is a truism it is interesting to speculate why only three out of 28 European Union countries allow forced or non-consensual adoption. One might ask: why are we so out of step with the rest of Europe? One might have thought if it was obvious that forced adoption was the gold standard the rest of Europe would have hastened to have adopted it. The relevance of this aspect of the case is surely obvious.”

Remember that since April 2014
the new section 51A of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, makes provision for applications for contact AFTER an adoption order has been made.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/6/pdfs/ukpga_20140006_en.pdf

W (Children), Re [2015] EWCA Civ 403 (24 April 2015)

Sir James Munby (President of the family courts) has ruled as follows :-

I agree with all of that. I can understand the pragmatic and very human (and humane) grounds on which judges have come to adopt the current practice, and I can see no reason why the hearing of the adoption application, if the judge thinks this appropriate, should not immediately follow the dismissal of the parent’s application: see In re B-S (Children) (Adoption Order: Leave to Oppose) [2014] 1 WLR 563, para 74(ix). Nor do I see any problem if the judge then and there announces his decision that there should be an adoption order. The problem arises if the judge proceeds then and there to make the formal adoption order. For the future, judges should postpone both the making of the formal adoption order and the holding of the celebratory event until after the parent’s time for applying to this court for permission to appeal has expired. (This will necessitate some adjustment to para 12 of the President’s Guidance: Listing Final Hearings in Adoption Cases, 3 October 2008, set out in the Family Court Practice 2013, p 2958. Until new Guidance is issued, para 12 of the existing Guidance should be applied in a manner consistent with this judgment.) It would also be prudent for judges, when dismissing an application under section 47(5), to ask the parent whether an appeal is proposed and, even if told that an appeal is not in mind, to make clear to the parent that the time for doing so is strictly limited.”

Historically, Courts have been able to consider applications for the contact that a parent would have POST-ADOPTION, but that application and determination of it would have been BEFORE the adoption order was made. Thus, the adoption order would in effect be the last time the child would be the subject of litigation, and the Court’s involvement in their life would end.  (There are exceptions – as we saw in Re W the President was willing to overturn an adoption order to hear an appeal, there are adopters who end up being involved in subsequent care or private law proceedings themselves, but generally, once the adoption order itself was made, the Court were done with the child)

Also one in three adoptions break down and the unfortunate baby or young child is returned to care.This gives the birth parents yet another chance to ask for their children to be returned to their care

.Do not believe the ss when they say your child has been adopted.They often say that to deprive you of hope.

Apply to the court for contact and they will soon tell you if your children have really been adopted !

In contrast to the invasive surgery the Court of Appeal has undertaken on the human rights of Placement Orders, their approach to challenges to Adoption Orders has been more subtle. The Court upheld much (but not all) of the previous case law but added, “we fear it may on occasions have been applied too narrowly and indeed too harshly.”

OPPOSING AN ADOPTION ORDER (AFTER PLACEMENT !) Remember adoption comes in two stages 1:-Adoption placement  2:-Adoption Order.

Yes you can still beat an adoption order as the case below shows quite clearly !!

May 2015 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2015/2039.html

A Placement Order gives permission to an adoption agency to place a child with prospective adopters. In the case of a non consensual adoption, the court has to determine whether the welfare of the child requires that the consent of the parents should be dispensed with.

There are certain circumstances in which a parent can apply to revoke a placement order but this comes to an end when the child is placed for adoption. Thereafter there is no opportunity for a parent to challenge the process until an application for an adoption order is issued.

A parent can oppose the making of an adoption order but to do so requires the leave of the Court and the Adoption and Children Act 2002 specifies that the Court cannot give such leave unless it is satisfied that there has been a change of circumstances since the making of the Placement Order.

It is also settled that once such leave is given the Court effectively have to decide afresh whether to dispense with parental consent to adoption in the light of the circumstances that then exist.

Home > Judgments

Re LG (A Child) [2015] EWFC 52

Successful application by a father for leave to oppose an adoption order

Prospective adopters applied for an adoption order in respect of L who was born in March 2014 and therefore 15 months old at the time of the hearing. L had been living with them since September 2014.

The father of L applied for leave under s.47(5) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 to oppose the adoption application. At the time of L’s conception the parents were young and the father had not informed his family about the mother’s pregnancy or L’s birth. The local authority started care proceedings which concluded with a care order and placement order on 28 August 2014. The extended paternal family had no knowledge of L’s existence during the currency of the care proceedings. The father had been pressed by professionals, including the allocated social worker and his own solicitor to explain why he did not want his family to be involved which resulted in no member of the extended family being identified or assessed as a suitable long-term carer for L.

image of 4 Paper Buildings logoBidwell HendersonCoram ChambersGarden Court

K (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 462

Successful appeal against the refusal of a mother’s application for permission to oppose the adoption application in relation to her eight year old son.

In April 2015, the mother of an 8-year-old boy, P, applied for permission to oppose an adoption application in relation to him. P had been removed from his mother’s care in 2011; and, in February 2012 he had been made subject to care and placement orders. At the final hearing, the court had the benefit of two reports (dated August 2011 and January 2012) from a consultant clinical and forensic psychologist, whose opinion had been that, whilst the mother cared deeply for P, her own needs would have prevented her consistently from meeting P’s.

Separate proceedings took place in relation to P’s younger sibling, K who had been adopted in 2015. In the course of those proceedings, the same psychologist had produced an updated report (dated June 2013); which indicated that the mother was not likely to change very much within 5 to 10 years without therapeutic treatment – and, that she showed little motivation for such treatment.

At the hearing for permission to oppose the adoption application in relation to P, the mother referred to a number of ways in which her situation had improved. In refusing the application, HHJ Orrell referred extensively to the psychologist’s evidence which was, the learned judge found, “only 6 months old” (on the basis that the mother had, in February 2015 when the proceedings relating to K concluded, conceded that it was, at that point, current and valid).

On appeal, the mother argued that HHJ Orrell was wrong to base his conclusion on an old psychological report and that the application should have been adjourned for an updating assessment; at a very late stage, the children’s guardian and Derby City Council indicated that they did not oppose the appeal.

Peter Jackson J sitting in the Court of Appeal gave the lead judgment of the Court and held that, given the importance of the decision and the significance of the psychological evidence, it would have been necessary for the judge to confront the fact that it was some 18 months old if he was to rely upon it – that is not what he did and, further, it was not for the Court of Appeal to do so either.

In addition, given the unusual circumstances of the case, an updating report would be required – and, “matters having reached the stage that they have”, at [13], it would be better to ask an alternative professional to undertake that report.

In his concurring judgment, Munby P re-iterated that it is unusual in an application of this sort for the court to be assisted by, or for the court to direct, the filing of a psychological or similar report. Even more unusual (but appropriate here) was the preparation of the report by a different professional. Munby P emphasised that: “it is no ground for seeking the view of a second expert that one or other of the parties (in this case the mother as it happens) disagrees, it may be profoundly, with the view of the first expert.”

The mother’s permission application was remitted to be re-heard by a different judge.

Father’s successful appeal against adoption orders and dismissal of his contact application – the applications were remitted to be heard by a different judge

While it is unfair on parents to set the test for change of circumstances too high, it would also be unfair if the court did not apply the test correctly, or at all, as occurred in Re W (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 403. In Re W, the trial judge failed to consider the paternal aunt as a potential carer for the children. As the aunt had not previously been considered as a potential carer, this new development equated to a change of circumstances. By ignoring the introduction of the paternal aunt, the trial judge misapplied the directions given in statute, in particular section 1(4)(f)(ii) ACA,  which says that as part of the welfare checklist, the court should consider:

A decision by the Court to give leave to a parent is therefore profound. As the Court of Appeal said in Re B-S,

“not merely is the parent able to oppose the making of an adoption order, but the parent, notwithstanding the making of the earlier placement order, is entitled to have the question of whether parental consent should be dispensed with considered afresh and, crucially, considered in the light of current circumstances (which may … be astonishingly different from those when the placement order was made).”

 

Link – http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2014/3388.html

My main purpose is to try to stop “punishment without crime”. We have laws in the UK and those who break the laws are rightly punished. Unfortunately those who do NOT break the law are also punished and that makes the whole idea of the law absurd ! This applies especially to mothers whose babies are taken away at birth for” risk of emotional abuse” and later adopted by strangers ; Sir James Munby President of the family courts recently described this as the most terrible punishment that could happen to anyone since the abolition of actual capital punishment (hanging)

When all else fails because you have exhausted the uk appeals process,you can turn to the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) and the information you need is below.

Questions and Answers – European Court of Human Rights

www.echr.coe.int/…/Questions_Answers_ENG.pdf

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN05611  Shows you the sort of cases they have been hearing and dealing with !

[PDF]Your application to the ECHR – European Court of Human …

www.echr.coe.int/…/Your_Application_ENG.pdf

In no circumstances will the Court set aside a national court’s decision. If the judgment is given by a Committee, it is final and there is no possibility of appeal.

[PDF]Application form – European Court of Human Rights

www.echr.coe.int/…/Application_Form_2014_1_EN...

concerned, including appeals, and also indicate the date when the final … Is or was there an appeal or remedy available to you which you have not used? Yes.

[PDF]The ECHR in 50 questions – European Court of Human Rights

www.echr.coe.int/Documents/50Questions_ENG.pdf

9 févr. 2014 – better known as the “European Convention …. of violations of the European Convention …. Chamber, are final and cannot be appealed against.

The Personal Support Unit

The PSU is an independent charity, based in the main building at the Royal Courts of Justice in Strand, London. The PSU provides non-legal advice, help, information and support to litigants in person and to any member of the public attending at the Royal Courts of Justice who may need help or assistance. We also operate at the Principal Registry of the Family Division at First Avenue House, High Holborn and at Wandsworth County Court.

The PSU was established in January 2001 and achieved charitable status in January 2002. It is a company limited by guarantee with a board of 9 Trustees.

The Courts are a daunting and intimidating place for those involved in legal proceedings. For those who do not have legal representation the difficulties are made worse. We try to overcome these difficulties by providing practical advice and support.

What we can do for you –

We can go around the court building with you.

We can go into court with you and stay with you during the hearing. (When the court is sitting in chambers or in private, we will need the permission of the judge and other parties).

We offer emotional support and practical information about what happens in court or at the RCJ offices.

We have a room where you can wait, talk through your case or just have a cup of tea.

We can normally help you straightaway – just ring 020 7947 7703 .

WHERE THE MONEY GOES

2014 payment now £590 per week per child!Most fosterers double this by taking in two children ! As advertised on the back of a bus….

busad2014

And who will that young boy with the kite attract?

Despite all these wonderful descriptions of overpaid foster carers, 10,000 children went “missing” from care, as you will see from the article below:

Joint Inquiry into Children Who Go Missing from Care

Extract (point 9):

In June 2012, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults and the APPG for Looked-after Children and Care Leavers published the report of their joint inquiry into children who go missing from care.

The report argued that the Government was under-reporting the number of children going missing from care. While the official figure for 2011 was 930, the report argues that, according to police data, an estimated 10,000 individual children went missing. The report cited that this high number was symptomatic of a care system which was far from being fit for purpose and in need of an urgent rethink.

For the full report click here

nationalfosteringagency

———- STOP PRESS !The agency above has been sold for £130+million!

 

Judge criticises social workers for ‘grossly overstated’ adoption evidence

Judge Simon Jack criticises council’s witnesses for being “visibly biased” in their attempts to support the local authority’s case

(Credit:REX/F1 Online)

(Credit:REX/F1 Online

A County Court judge has criticised three North East Lincolnshire social workers for having evidence which was “grossly overstated” in order to achieve adoption for a child.

Judge Simon Jack said the council’s witnesses were “visibly biased” in their attempts to support the local authority’s case. He added that this was the first time he had ever taken such a view in 10 years of hearing care cases.

Guidance on Re B-S

You can read about the full impact of the Re B-S case on CC Inform Children.

He said of a social worker: “I had the clear impression that he was, for whatever reason, whether it was his own inclination or instructions from above, that he was intent on saying only things which supported the local authority’s case and was very reluctant to make any concessions which would undermine that case.”

The judge heard from three social workers about a young boy they were trying to get an adoption placement for.

The case was not judging whether the boy should remain in the care of his parents, but whether he could be placed with either of his two sets of grandparents. The local authority had ruled out both sets of grandparents because of, in the case of Mr. and Mrs. C, domestic violence and drink problems, and in the case of Mr. and Mrs. G because they had too much on their plate caring for older children who had difficulties of their own.

However, the judge felt some evidence from social workers was “totally discredited” after things they said in court conflicted with their own statement. ”I had the very strong impression that the local authority witnesses were intent on playing up any factors which were unfavourable to the grandparents and playing down any factors which might be favourable,” the judge said.

One example of this was when one social worker said “you could say that” to positive evidence about the grandparents found in the paper.

“A degree of realism”

Reacting to the claims that one set of grandparents had problems with domestic violence, the judge said that the courts “are not in the business of social engineering”.

“The courts are not in the business of providing children with perfect homes. If we took into care and placed for adoption every child whose parents had a domestic spat and every  child whose parents on occasion had drunk too much then the care system would be overwhelmed and there would not be enough adoptive parents,” he said, adding that courts and social services need to have “a degree of realism” about prospective carers.

After using a balancing exercise undertaken in accordance with the Re B-S case, the judge said that the positives for the child remaining within his own family “far outweighed” the negatives which would follow from adoption.

The judge decided that the boy be placed with Mr. and Mrs. G and said that he expects North East Lincolnshire Council to provide as much support is needed to help ensure the placement works.

REFORMS

If you are asked what should be done to reform the UK family courts reply as follows:-

The family courts should be run under the same guidelines as those of the uk criminal courts
This would entail the following improvements:-
1:- Innocent until PROVED guilty beyond reasonable doubt !Probabilities (51%) mean that family courts could now be taking children wrongly for nearly half the time.
2:-No gagging orders.
3:-The right to call for a second opinion in regard to medical or psychiatric evidence.
4:-The right to call any witnesses relevant to the case,including children deemed Gillick competent by an independent source.
5:-The public should be admitted and relatives be allowed to sit with or near parents
6:-Hearsay to be admitted only under special circumstances and to be awarded less weight than direct evidence should the two conflict.
7:-Previous offences or charges should not be revealed until after the verdict;
8:-Contact between children and parents should never be forbidden or censored unless the parent has been convicted of a serious crime against a child or children.Conversations between parents and children should never be censored.Murderers and Paedophiles in prison are of course allowed visitors and allowed to phone out about once a week in most prisons and can speak freely without censorship.
9:- The right of parents to a jury in the most important cases ie when permanent or long term separation between parent and child is envisaged.
10:-The right NOT to be punished by removal of children for mere risk of things that may never happen;Criminals are not jailed for risk !

Our approach: Help4LiPs Multimedia

BAILII

[Home] [Databases] [World Law] [Multidatabase Search] [Help] [Feedback]

British and Irish Legal Information Institute
Access to Freely Available British and Irish Public Legal Information
DONATE to BAILIIMajor Sponsors

Welcome to BAILII, where you can find British and Irish case law & legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports, and other law-related British and Irish material. BAILII thanks the Practical Law Company for their recent donation which has enabled us to replace our old hardware. Our continuing gratitude goes to The Society for Computers & Law for their substantial sponsorship. For more information, see About BAILII.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s