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Don’t get too hung up on the lies

 

 

The Court of Appeal decision in Re Y (A child) 2013 

http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed120637

This was actually, I think the first appeal about Placement Orders post Re B-S, it has just been beaten to the published judgment case by all of the others. Anyway, in this one, the Court of Appeal determined that the judgment was deficient in the sort of rigorous analysis that is now required (notwithstanding that not all of the authorities that established the need for such analysis having existed at the time the judgment was made).

 

The Court of Appeal were very critical of the Local Authority final evidence.

“In upholding the criticism made of the judgment as to inadequate identification of risk and consequent evaluation of likelihood of that risk in subsequent analysis of measures which mitigate that risk, that is articulation of the proportionality of the order sought and subsequently made, the judge was not assisted by the dearth of relevant evidence which should have supplied, in particular by the local authority.  Relevant evidence in this respect is not and should not be restricted to that supportive of the Local Authority’s preferred outcome.”

(re-emphasising, if such emphasis were needed, that a B-S compliant final statement analysising the pros and cons of each potential final option is essential)

 

But this bit is a development from the multitude of other Placement Orders sent back for re-hearing.

 

(4) I consider the case appears to have been hijacked by the issue of the mother’s dishonesty. Much of the local authority’s evidence is devoted to it.  The Children’s Guardian adopts much the same perspective.  It cannot be the sole issue in a case devoid of context. There was very little attention given to context in this case.  No analysis appears to have been made by any of the professionals as to why the mother’s particular lies created the likelihood of significant harm to these children and what weight should reasonably be afforded to the fact of her deceit in the overall balance.

(5) This is not a case which is remitted for re-hearing merely to correct a procedural defect. The existing evidence plainly is inadequate for the purpose of the task of the judge who will re-hear the case at first instance in the light of recent authorities.

[This is of course mildly ironic, since the case that launched a thousand appeals in relation to plans for adoption, Re B, is almost entirely about the dishonesty of the parents and the disconnection between that level of dishonesty and firm cogent reasons as to why and how that dishonesty would harm the child.  It is also worth bearing in mind that the Supreme Court were 4-1 in favour of the Placement Order, notwithstanding that it was one of the flimsiest thresholds I’ve ever encountered]

 

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

7 responses

  1. My understanding is that Supreme Court re B was an appeal against the Care Order, not against a Placement Order. As you say, and I entirely agree, the threshold was extraordinarily flimsy. The issue of ‘lack of cooperation’ was specific and was not generalised to a wide range of other professionals. It was also contextually focused on lack of acceptance of the need for the baby to be removed at birth, and lack of cooperation with the subsequent local authority plan for nonconsensual adoption.

    Essentially, lack of cooperation with a plan for non consensual adoption is utilised by the local authority as indicating the need for nonconsensual/forced adoption. To overwork a cliche, this is Kafkaesque.

    The Placement Order hearing is still to take place.

    • Looking at it, you are quite right. Very strange, since (although the appeal was supposed to be about threshold) almost the entire judgment is about the proportionality of the plan of adoption. Given that the Supreme Court found 4-1 in favour of upholding the Care Order with the plan of adoption (and I think even Baroness Hale reluctantly acqueised on that point once the majority decision was that threshold was crossed), it seems to me inconcievable that any later Court could refuse the Placement Order. (The ECHR of course, is a diffferent matter)

      The real issue for me with Re B was a fundamental one – there is no inherent duty on a parent to cooperate with professionals – it may very well be that once the threshold is crossed, their ability to work with professionals to reduce the risk becomes a factor in whether the risk identified becomes manageable, but I just didn’t think on everything that I have read in the judgment of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, the threshold was crossed. The parents certainly had considerably unusual features, but in the absence of identifying how any of those features HAD or WOULD harm the child, I didn’t feel that the threshold had crossed. But that ship has sailed.

      I will forgive the use of Kafka – it certainly makes a nice change from the regular breaches of Godwin’s Law (which I consider, unofficially, to apply to these discussions)

  2. toni macleod aka stella

    from my personal knowledge of the Re B case i most certainly think it has been crossed previously with an older child to a shocking level and alot of that information came from the child herself but i do agree with the younger child referred to in Re B there hasnt been an opportunity to reach it

    in regards to the above case i can honestly say your so lucky you are a safe distance away from my had you been close i would have probably smacked the lips on you !! absolutely perfect and very apt

    given yesterday the la got their placement order on Re L in my absence despite my contesting the fact they went ahead with the hearing when i am LIP and i was by my 3 day old newborn sons bedside praying him to live in intensive care in alderhay childrens hospital 4 hours from home rather a callous act followed that when they had me removed from his bedside and banned all contact from me and family from seeing him despite having no child protection or orders on him and i have the icpc notes from the 31/11/13 stating they were refused a cp plan on him even my request for a child in need plan was refused prior to his birth ….. then to receive a text message a few hours later saying they will be serving me monday

    given i wasnt at that hearing but sent my mother to take notes unfortunately she left during that hearing at a few points as it was too traumatic for her to listen to their destroying of yet another grand childs life but managed to make the missing bits up from my husbands notes from where he stayed in but again missing bits when he had to leave the court from being emotional so from my pieced together information there grounds being the following

    i over react and allegedly exaggerate incidents that have occurred during her care in la fc but they do accept the incidents do occur i personally think they minimize them !

    i have not had cbt despite the fact the judge admitted i had requested via application to release my shrink and psyche reports to the cbt therapist as they are stating i do not need it given i have no personality disorders or mental health issues not even depression and she refused to allow this as she believes i wont use them to get the cbt not sure what the hell she thinks i wil use them for given that i am lip i can realistically just hand my copies to whoever the hell i want to i could essentially print and paper the local town with them but they do accept the alleged maladaptive coping mechanisms have been proved to be not relevant by their own admission i have rectified them all

    the doctors letter on headed stamped paper stating i had been to him asking for cbt that was filed ages ago she now thinks isnt real and i must have made it up so this is me lying yet she didnt bother at the time to raise it or even to ring the number on it to speak to the Gp directly to question him or to actually say at the time she didnt believe it

    and i give lip service to the la and just pretend to work with them when i dont like them and am just pretending to like them and just enjoy manipulating them …..

    i contested every ico and made a application for a christening so this shows i cannot meet her emotional needs as it shows i am attempting to sabotage her placement and prioritizing my own needs above hers

    my husband never being allowed to see his daughter is due to ….

    he is a liar

    he cant stand up to me examples of that are he thinks she should come home ….. but yet he’s ok to fight the taliban in afghan apparently i am scarier than them the whole nearly 5ft of me

    yet all the care of re L is highly praised we work with the la attend all meetings and have no drug alcohol or mental health issues no domestic violence or been involved in any criminal acts

    so in a nut shell this case shall be gold dust in my appeal ta hun ya a star !!! xx

    • I can see why you are so excited – be a bit careful with what you share, as I don’t want you to accidentally break the legal requirements not to identify the children or give information from the proceedings. (Am going to take this one as being information about your emotional reaction to the case, which just falls on the right side). Sorry to be all lawyery – occupational hazard. I think the case is probably a useful one for people in a similar position where the concerns centre around discord between the parents and professionals, and is a helpful reminder that ‘harm and risk’ are what we are looking at, not whether the parents are easy to get on with.

      • toni macleod aka stella

        lol i havent identified anything that hasnt been in the public eye from the RCJ themselves or raised in parliament 😉 and tied to me

        on the up side which i think should amuse and confuse most people including you for a change is the update

        after getting contact reinstated over the weekend whilst also ensuring i got an out of hours order on sunday from a very kind and honorable Mr Justice Hayden the la had to produce all evidence they sought to rely on to restrict or contain my contact in regards to my new born son by 12 noon monday

        i further got a reply from President Mumby’s clark from the email i forwarded to him

        which they (la) did albeit half hour late (the clocks late springs to mind)
        within that they confirmed they had no cp plan no plo proceedings and it was apparently all a big error and they had no wish to stop any contact

        then to have two sw’s attend the hospital and tell me (despite remember i have just had a child removed friday for risk of future emotional harm for placement order and adoption no contact at all direct or indirect) there wont be a cp plan and i just need to agree to and abide by a written agreement to have my newborn son home upon discharge from the hospital ……….

        which is now in writing 3 separate occasions and stated infront of 3 other professionals from different organisations within the hospital

        have fun with that update and if you can figure out what the hell i did or didnt do correctly within one working day to permanently loose one child for ever and to be allowed to keep the next one the next working day please tell me coz i personally think i just havent woke up yet !!! xx

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