N (Children: Refusal of Placement Orders), Court of Appeal,  EWCA Civ 1652
A local authority, supported by the Children’s Guardian, appeals from the refusal of its application for placement orders in respect of children aged 2 and almost 4 who are presently in foster care. The Judge held that, despite many severe difficulties, it was better for the children to be returned to their mother under care orders, with restrictions on their father’s contact, than for them to be placed for adoption. The key issues are (a) whether there is any prospect of those restrictions being observed and, accordingly, whether the Judge should have refused to make placement orders and (b) having refused to make placement orders, whether the Judge should have made final or interim orders.
Second judgment in the High Court whereby Judd J recognised the improvements, but then decline, the subject child made in their bespoke residential placement. The Court made a Care Order and authorised a further package of measures constituting a deprivation of the child’s liberty in light of recent difficulties
David’s successful appeal against a decision, of the Court’s own motion, by HHJ Wright at the CFC to transfer care proceedings to France under Brussels IIA, Article 15. He represented the Mother, who opposed the transfer. The Court of Appeal agreed with David, for a range of reasons, that the French Court was not better placed to hear the case and the transfer would not be in the best interests of the 13 year old boy, who was the subject of the proceedings. The Court also allowed the appeal on the basis that the Court below had not given sufficient notice to the parties it was contemplating the transfer, as required by FPR 12.64. In addition, the Court of Appeal gave important guidance on the proper use of Articles 55 and 56 of Brussels IIA.
Welfare decision of Mrs Justice Theis in protracted care proceedings following a successful appeal and re-hearing of the Fact-Finding Hearing in respect of four children. Despite reservations about whether the parents had been given a fair opportunity to avail themselves of support and intervention recommended in expert assessments, the Court concluded the proceedings by way of Care Orders
The High Court considered the Local Authority’s application for an order authorising the deprivation of a young person’s liberty, noting the lack of appropriate secure placements at a time of social emergency during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Chris acted for the father, who – together with the mother – sought to discharge the ICO and have the young person returned to the parents’ care. Judd J, noting the parents’ anguish, nevertheless concluded that the young person’s safety required that they be made subject to a DOL order
In a ‘remote’ final hearing of care proceedings, Mostyn J approved the Local Authority’s care plan for the child, EK, to be made subject to Care and Placement Orders. David Sharp represented the child, through his Children’s Guardian. For Eleanor Clotworthy‘s article on the procedural issues raised by conducting the hearing remotely by Skype for Business, published online by “It’s a Lawyer’s Life”, please click here
This was the first full tirla of care proceedings by Skype.
Chris Stevenson, leading Madeleine Whelan, represented the father in this re-hearing of a Fact-Finding Hearing before Theis J following a successful appeal in B (Children: Uncertain Perpetrator)  EWCA Civ 575. The Court found the intervenor had infected the subject children with Neisseria gonorrhoea, and there was no failure to protect on the part of the parents