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A tottering edifice built on inadequate foundations

The President’s decision in Re A (a child) 2015 in which the Court were asked to make a Care Order and Placement Order on a child who was not quite a year old, and refused to do so – even more significantly finding that the threshold criteria for making such orders were not made out, and castigating professionals for sloppy thinking and lack of rigour in their analysis of significant harm.


(It comes pretty close to how I expected the Supreme Court to have dealt with threshold in the Re B case, but in the event, Baroness Hale was the only one who went near that)


Skipping ahead to the core analysis and decision on threshold and the applications:-


  1. I have gone through the local authority’s various concerns in some detail. As I have explained, many of the local authority’s allegations have been abandoned or cannot, for the reasons I have given, be substantiated. What is left? I can summarise it as follows:

    i) The father is immature and can sometimes act irresponsibly. As the history of his relationships with both the mother and J illustrate all too clearly, he seems to have a tendency to fall very quickly into unsatisfactory and short-lived relationships.

    ii) In some instances, though not to the extent alleged by the local authority, the father has minimised or played down matters which were properly of concern to the local authority. He has not always been open and honest with professionals. He failed to appreciate the significance of his actions in relation to J.

    iii) To an extent the father is lacking in insight regarding A’s needs and minimises some aspects of his character and behaviours which may bear adversely on A.

    iv) On occasions the father drinks to excess. On occasions he has taken cannabis. There have been episodes of domestic discord between the father, his mother and his step-father, involving the police and, on occasions, actual violence.

    As against that, I should record that on matters of fact I found the father to be a truthful and, for the most part, reliable historian.

  2. What does this amount to? Does it suffice to establish a real possibility that A will suffer significant harm? Even if it does, has the local authority established that A’s welfare requires that he be adopted, that “nothing else will do”?
  3. In my judgment, the answer to each of these latter two questions is No. My essential reasoning is two-fold. First, the many flaws in the local authority’s case to which I have already referred go a very long way to weakening its case. Taking account of all the evidence, and surveying the wide canvass, the real picture is very different from that which the local authority would have had me accept. Secondly, and having had the advantage of hearing the father and his mother give evidence, I cannot accept that the father presents the kind of risk to A which gives rise to a real possibility of A suffering significant harm, let alone the degree of risk which would have to be demonstrated to justify a plan for adoption. I say that taking full account of all the father’s faults but also factoring in the positives identified by SW1 and giving appropriate weight to the degree of commitment to A the father has demonstrated in contact.
  4. I can accept that the father may not be the best of parents, he may be a less than suitable role model, but that is not enough to justify a care order let alone adoption. We must guard against the risk of social engineering, and that, in my judgment is what, in truth, I would be doing if I was to remove A permanently from his father’s care.


And later

I am very conscious that in coming to this conclusion I am departing from the views and recommendations not merely of the local authority (that is, of SW1, SW2 and TM) but also of A’s guardian, CG. But I have to have regard to a number of factors to which I have already draw attention:

i) In a significant number of very material respects the local authority has simply failed to prove the factual underpinning of its case.

ii) SW1’s work was seriously flawed. Neither SW2 nor CG seems to have explored or analysed in any detail the underlying factual basis of the local authority’s case. In large part they simply accepted SW1’s factual assumptions. Insofar as they conducted independent investigations with the father, each met him only once, SW2 for about 75-80 minutes, CG for only 45 minutes.

iii) The local authority was too willing to believe the worst of the father, which led to it being unduly dismissive of what he was saying.

iv) The local authority failed to link the facts it relied upon with its assertions that A was at risk. Nor did CG.

v) The local authority and CG did not sufficiently reappraise the case once it had become clear that the father was no longer in a relationship with either the mother or J.

For all these reasons I am entitled, in my judgment, to come to a different conclusion. My duty is to come to my own decision having regard to all the evidence, and, for reasons which will by now be apparent, I am driven to conclusions other than those shared by the local authority and CG.



A lot to cover in this, but let’s start with the Children’s Guardian. This read to me like a Guardian who saw which way the wind was blowing and jumped off “HMS Adoption Full Speed Ahead” and onto the “good ship Naughty Local Authority”   (this is one of my pet hates – by all means criticise a Local Authority and challenge them on poor work, but don’t do it after the event)

We have a Guardian who was saying to the President that she was “appalled” by the social work assessments and evidence, but in her written evidence to the Court was supporting their conclusions and saying there wasn’t a need for any further assessments.

  1. On 6 October 2014 CG completed her initial case analysis. It is striking for what it did not say. In her oral evidence to me, CG described herself as being “extremely concerned” by the assessments. She was, she said, and this was her own, unprompted, word, “appalled”, not merely because of the local authority’s delay in issuing the proceedings but also because of the poor quality of the assessments, both the assessment of the father and the assessment of the paternal grandmother and step-grandfather. Nothing of this is to be found, however, in her initial case analysis. Having summarised what was reported by the local authority, she turned to the assessment of the father, which she described as “negative” and as highlighting various concerns, which she then enumerated. She said:

    “Taking into consideration all of the information contained within the documentation filed with the Court by the Local Authority I do not consider that any further assessment of either parent will assist in determining the long term plans for A.”

    Having expressed concerns about the local authority’s delay from 17 February 2014 to 16 September 2014 in issuing proceedings, she identified the need for any other potential kinship carers to be identified and assessed and recommended the making of an interim care order.

  2. The letter from Mr Leigh had, as we have seen, referred to the guardian being “most concerned at the social work exhibited in this case” but it focused on the issue of delay. In her oral evidence to me, CG said that she had brought her concerns about the quality of the assessments to the attention of the local authority’s representatives when the matter was back at court on 6 October 2014. No doubt she did, but what is far from clear is the extent to which, if at all, her concerns were articulated, either to the other parties or to Judge Taylor. I am driven to the unhappy conclusion that whatever may have been said was wholly inadequate to bring home, either to this very experienced family judge or to the parties, the guardian’s real views about the inadequacy of the assessments. The order made following the hearing recorded the guardian only as having “significant concerns regarding the delay” and as wishing matters to be concluded “swiftly”.


The Authority is named, but social workers are not. . I know that this vexes people, so given that it was the President who wrote the guidance saying social workers should be named AND that this judgment is a mullering, I’ll allow him to say in his own words why he decided that


  1. It will be noticed that I have, quite deliberately, not identified either SW1 or SW2 or TM, though their employer has, equally deliberately, been named. There is, in principle, every reason why public authorities and their employees should be named, not least when there have been failings as serious as those chronicled here. But in the case of local authorities there is a problem which has to be acknowledged.
  2. Ultimate responsibility for such failings often lies much higher up the hierarchy, with those who, if experience is anything to go by, are almost invariably completely invisible in court. The present case is a good example. Only SW1, SW2 and TM were exposed to the forensic process, although much of the responsibility for what I have had to catalogue undoubtedly lies with other, more senior, figures. Why, to take her as an example, should the hapless SW1 be exposed to public criticism and run the risk of being scapegoated when, as it might be thought, anonymous and unidentified senior management should never have put someone so inexperienced in charge of such a demanding case. And why should the social workers SW1, SW2 and TM be pilloried when the legal department, which reviewed and presumably passed the exceedingly unsatisfactory assessments, remains, like senior management, anonymous beneath the radar? It is Darlington Borough Council and its senior management that are to blame, not only SW1, SW2 and TM. It would be unjust to SW1, SW2 and TM to name and shame them when others are not similarly exposed.
  3. CG stands in a rather different position. I have expressed various criticisms of her: see paragraphs 39-40, 49 and 97 above. But it would be unfair and unjust to identify her if others are not.

Looking now at some of the detail, although much is fact specific, the President is really attacking a wider malaise, in that there was an approach here in relation to threshold which put in almost everything negative about the parents that one could think of, without proper consideration of these two issues:-

1. Could those things be proved? And proved properly, not merely relying on hearsay?


2. Even if proved, did they go to establishing that the child had suffered harm or was at risk of suffering harm?

To highlight one example, the father in the case had a conviction, when he was 17 for having sex with a girl who was 13. He accepted that, although said that he had not known her age at the time. The offence was nine years ago.

In her witness statement SW1 said much the same. I need not set it all out. Two passages suffice:

“[He] has failed to work openly and honestly with the Local Authority, as has his mother and her partner. [His] acceptance and understanding of the severity of the offence … continues to cause the Local Authority significant concern …

Despite several attempts of advising [him] that the Local Authority acknowledge that this offence was committed a significant period of time ago, he was unable to acknowledge the significance of this. A requires appropriate role models within his life whereby he is given the opportunity to learn socially acceptable behaviours. It appears [the father] fails to acknowledge the immoral nature of this offence, and as he did not receive a criminal conviction, feels this incident is not significant, nor is it in the interests of A for this to be explored further.”


That is the sort of thing that one does see in social work statements and assessments fairly often, and it is perhaps not a huge surprise that the social workers considered this something of a roadblock to their work with father and whether they could trust him.

The President puts them right, as falling foul of the second question above. They could prove it, yet, but did it MATTER? Was it harm?

  1. There are two things about this which, to speak plainly, are quite extraordinary. First, what is the relevance of the assertion that the offence he committed was “immoral”? The city fathers of Darlington and Darlington’s Director of Social Services are not guardians of morality. Nor is this court. The justification for State intervention is harm to children, not parental immorality. Secondly, how does any of this translate through to an anticipation of harm to A? The social worker ruminates on the “current risk he poses” to “vulnerable young women”? What has that got to do with care proceedings in relation to the father’s one year old son? It is not suggested that there is any risk of the father abusing A. The social worker’s analysis is incoherent.
  2. The schedule of findings asserts (W1) that the father “minimises the significance of these events”. Perhaps he does. But where does this take the local authority? I sought elucidation from both TM and SW2. Their answer was two-fold. First, that the father’s trivialisation of what he had done would inhibit his ability to protect A were A to be at risk of future sexual abuse by others. Secondly, that it would prevent him instilling in A a proper understanding of society’s values. With all respect to those propounding such views, the first is far too speculative to justify care proceedings and the second falls foul of the fundamental principle referred to in paragraphs 14-17 above.
  3. It is an undoubted fact of life that many youths and young men have sexual intercourse with under-age girls. But if such behaviour were to be treated without more as grounds for care proceedings years later, the system would be overwhelmed. Some 17 year old men who have sexual intercourse with 13 year old girls may have significantly distorted views about sex and children, and therefore pose a risk to their own children of whatever age or gender, but that is not automatically true of all such men. The local authority must prove that the facts as proved give rise to a risk of significant harm to this child A. It has failed to do so, proceeding on an assumption that is not supported by evidence. The father has not helped himself by his behaviour towards the social workers, but the burden of proof is on the local authority, not on him. The fact that he was rude to the social workers does not absolve the local authority of the obligation to prove that there is a risk of significant harm. It has failed to do so.
  4. Many children, unhappily, have parents who are far from being good role models. But being an inadequate or even a bad role model is not a ground for making care orders, let alone adoption orders.


That is an illustration of the sort of thing that peppered the threshold, and the President really encapsulates the issue in this line here


9. 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.


and then in paragraph 10

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”.

  1. Failure to understand these principles and to analyse the case accordingly can lead, as here, to the unwelcome realisation that a seemingly impressive case is, in truth, a tottering edifice built on inadequate foundations.

12. 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. Sometimes the linkage will be obvious, as where the facts proved establish physical harm. But the linkage may be very much less obvious where the allegation is only that the child is at risk of suffering emotional harm or, as in the present case, at risk of suffering neglect. In the present case, as we shall see, an important element of the local authority’s case was that the father “lacks honesty with professionals”, “minimises matters of importance” and “is immature and lacks insight of issues of importance”. May be. But how does this feed through into a conclusion that A is at risk of neglect? The conclusion does not follow naturally from the premise. The local authority’s evidence and submissions must set out the argument and explain explicitly why it is said that, in the particular case, the conclusion indeed follows from the facts. Here, as we shall see, the local authority conspicuously failed to do so.

What we don’t know, to be fair, is whether this mealy-mouthed threshold document which was a tottering edifice was as drafted by the Local Authority, or the composite document that ends up being produced as an ‘agreed threshold’  – I often see responses to threshold which purport to be an agreed threshold but the revised version is so watered down and wishy washy that it no longer meets the test.  “seemed”, “appeared”  “the child said X but father denies it”, are all the sorts of things that either end up being inserted in an “agreed” threshold to remove argument and dispute OR to be put in to the document in the first place with a view to the threshold not being controversial.

After the opening bit of a threshold document that tells you the child’s name and date of birth and parents, every other paragraph should be  sharply focussed on:-

This is an allegation that can be proved and if proved would demonstrate that the child had suffered significant harm, or is at risk of significant harm.


As the President points out, where the case becomes dominated by the fringe issues of whether a parent has insight, or is truthful, or is open and honest, or is working with professionals, one loses sight of the actual statutory test that we are working to.  These things may have some value  (though less than is believed) when deciding on the right orders ONCE threshold is crossed, but they have no probative weight in deciding WHETHER threshold is crossed.


I have noticed over the last fifteen years a real shift in litigation about care proceedings from scrapping over every single allegation and inch of threshold to a rush to get threshold accepted and resolved, ideally at the first hearing, and all of the litigation being about future disposal and care plan. The President is right – it is rigour in analysing threshold and whether it is met and how which enables the Court to properly decide whether the State should be intervening at all.


Going back to detail, there was substantial play made of the father’s membership of the English Defence League, and it gets crowbarred into the threshold document.

  1. In her statement SW1 returned to the same theme. I need set out only the key passages:

    “the immoral nature of the values and beliefs of members of the EDL and the violence within the protests EDL members engage in is inappropriate and supports inflicting violence injury to innocent members of the Muslim heritage …

    … it is commonly known that this barbaric protestor group promote ignorance and violence in respect of the muslim community … By all means, the assessing social worker supports equality, difference of opinion and that not all races and cultures agree with one another’s beliefs and views. What cannot be condoned however is expressing these beliefs through violence, irrational behaviour and inflicting physical and psychological pain against others due to their religion, the core beliefs and subfocus of the English Defence League. A should reside within an environment that supports difference, equality and independence. He needs to be taught how to express his views systematically and in a socially acceptable way. A should not reside within an environment whereby violence is openly condoned, supported and practiced. [The father] and J need to appreciate this is the twenty first century, the world is a diverse place whereby all individuals should feel accepted, regardless of their ethnic background, race and origin.”

  2. In the schedule of findings the allegation (paragraph 5) is that the father “has been a member of the English Defence League” and that the mother “has previously stated that he has been the target of serious threats to his person and home.”
  3. As in relation to what is said about the father’s previous sexual activity, I find much of this quite extraordinary. The mere fact, if fact it be, that the father was a member, probably only for a short time, of the EDL is neither here nor there, whatever one may think of its beliefs and policies. It is concerning to see the local authority again harping on about the allegedly “immoral” aspects of the father’s behaviour. I refer again to what was said in In re B, both by Lord Wilson of Culworth JSC and by Baroness Hale of Richmond JSC. Membership of an extremist group such as the EDL is not, without more, any basis for care proceedings. Very properly, by the end of the hearing Mr Oliver had abandoned this part of the local authority’s case. Not before time: it should never have been part of its case. That the local authority should have thought that it could, and that its case should have been expressed in the language used by SW1, much of it endorsed by TM, is concerning.
  4. If it really were the case that the father was at risk of serious threats to his person and home, that might be a very different matter, though it is not easy to see why the appropriate remedy for such threats should be the adoption of A rather than the provision of suitable security arrangements. Be that as it may, the local authority has in my judgment failed to establish that such threats were ever uttered with any serious intent, that, if they were, there remains any continuing risk to either the father or his family, or that the risk, if any, is such as to justify its concerns. It is, after all, noteworthy that there is no suggestion that there has been any actual attempt either to harm the father or to damage his home.


The President was also dismissive of the items in the threshold relating to the father drinking and smoking cannabis

  1. It is further said that the father “has a history of use of illegal drugs”, that “alcohol played a part in an incident on 3 December 2014”, that his mother “says that it [alcohol] affects his temper” and that he “failed to disclose that there was a police search of the property … where he was a tenant during which there was discovered 4 cannabis plants and 18 buds on 24 April 2014”.
  2. I have no doubt that the father on occasion drinks to excess, but not to such an extent as to justify care proceedings. He may have taken cannabis on occasions, but the reality is that many parents smoke cannabis on occasions without their children coming to any harm. The police search was of a property which at the time was tenanted and there is nothing to suggest that the father was in any way complicit. These allegations take the local authority nowhere. Parental abuse of alcohol or drugs of itself and without more is no basis for taking children into care.


Okay, say the Local Authority – you’re going to strike out the sexual offence, the lack of insight, the lack of honesty, the alcohol and drug misuse – but we’d still rely on the domestic violence. Not so fast…

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.


This is probably the most significant thing about this case – it wasn’t a Local Authority who felt they were on thin ice with dad and were scratching around for threshold – they instead probably legitimately felt that there were a raft of concerns in a number of areas and that the threshold was crossed quite comfortably. As the President showed, if you dissect each and every part of the foundations with that two fold approach – (i)can you prove it? and (ii) if you can prove it, how does it establish harm or likelihood of harm, all of those foundations crumble away leaving the Local Authority with nothing.

This case would have very little to say if it were a case where the LA were “trying it on” but as it relates to a body of thinking where the threshold can be made up of ‘concerns’ or ‘worries’ or ‘issues’ rather than allegations that (a) can be proved and (b) can be shown have a direct bearing on harm or likelihood of harm to the child, it has much broader implications.

If you are a lawyer reading this case in thorough detail, I’d be surprised if you weren’t picking up a red pen and looking through some recent threshold documents.

Where does that leave a parent who has conceded the threshold as being met (given that the PLO and the case management orders press the parties to resolve this issue at the very first hearing)? Well, you’d probably argue that the President’s clarification and sharper focus might warrant looking at the threshold again. I doubt whether this alone would justify an appeal of orders already made, but it might involve some recalibration of threshold documents in cases yet to be concluded.


About suesspiciousminds

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

59 responses

  1. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

    This case is like the President just got himself a new Smart phone, it does and has everything.

    Many of the readers will be able to pick out specific points and find the correlation with their own cases, there not much of particular point of threshold that has not been covered except an actual injury to the child.

    While this case has so much food for thought, would this case have those hierarchy take notice, would the words “Come on guys this is just not acceptable” be muttered? like I have said in the past would the DCS’s even know of its existence, changes cannot happen unless these cases are discussed around the meeting rooms of those who hold the balance of power

  2. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    Bravo President – hopefully this judgement will be of such import as to signal the pendulum swinging back from the outer limits of obfuscation and using future emotional harm to establish threshold towards the less-interventionism which has always underpinned the Children Act, in practice and not just theory.

  3. “Social engineering” are the 2 words that jumped out at me. Knowing what I know about the system in the UK, this is crucial to what is happening there. You should also see the morals of the people in the jobs applying for these court orders. I can give you an example here; I am a slim, fit, intelligent, successful racehorse trainer, with an abundance of energy, enthusiasm and generally a good egg. My daughter was handed a grossly overweight, under the average level of intelligence, under achieving, unhealthy female social worker who was trying to tell the court, that I was not a good role model for my child. My child had a life of absolute luxury with me, riding ponies, taking international holidays and mixing with the extremely well to do people in my world of horse racing.
    To give this amount of power to these kind of people, to then be allowed to abuse this power, does indeed lead to social engineering.
    Thank God Hale and Munby know what is going on and are trying to rein in these morons.

    • Having read all of the publicly available judgements relating to your relationship with your former partner and your daughter, I am not surprised by your description of yourself, but, even if I accepted, entirely hypothetically for the purposes of the argument, your description of the social worker involved, I can see no logical basis for your belief that a slim, fit intelligent social worker would have regarded the facts relating to your case in a different light.

      The President’s judgement makes it clear that it is the facts which matter. The judgements in your case were based on facts which have nothing to do with role models, or social engineering; they go instead to the heart of the parent child relationship. That relationship isn’t about how wonderful you are, or how many wealthy friends you have; at its best it’s about raising a child to develop his or her own potential as an individual so that the child can make informed decisions about what he or she wants to do with his or her life, secure in the knowledge that the parent supports them in their journey into independence as an adult.

      I find it hard to empathise with someone who apparently regards children as accessories in their life style, but then I’m neither a Judge nor a social worker. I don’t have to live up to their professional standards; I’m delighted by the judgement because it seems to me to be just, and I hope that many more people will be justly treated as a result of the judgement…

      • And your views on this case – after all this is what this article is about? You know – the one about social engineering and the one where (it appears) social workers acted lamentably.

      • Wizardpc

        My thoughts on the judgement can be found at the end of my comment: I wrote:

        “I’m delighted by the judgement because it seems to me to be just, and I hope that many more people will be treated justly as a result of this judgement.”

        i didn’t think there was any possible ambiguity in those statements, but, for the avoidance of any possible doubt, I entirely agree with the President’s comments on social engineering and social workers behaving appallingly badly.

        You haven’t mentioned it but I also entirely agree with his criticism of the appalling behaviour of the CG.

        And I continue to hope that many more people will be treated justly as a result of this judgement.

  4. yabba dabba doo

  5. stella aka toni macleod

    im in tears absolute fuckin tears here thats the same fuckin judge in one of my cases same crapcass same courts same sw’s exact same threshold …….

    thats my kids home with that judgement fuckin finally someones managed to do it for me thats going to get my kids back

    and when i say im in tears im blubbering like a tit mascara and snot galore and i honestly dont care !

    and yes sorry andrew but i swore and swore lots im now going to continue blubbering like a retarded sloppy black tear stained freak

    thank you for posting this

    stella xxx

    • You know it. this judgement made me suck my breath in tbh, initially I was wondering what on Earth the president was thinking, then I reminded myself of you, and many more like you … Has this father started drinking, smoking weed and reacting angrily SINCE having his child taken? A pretty normal reaction by anyone’s standard.
      This child would be away and adopted by now if the intervention hadn’t come at the right time. We know that.
      The next step for someone with clout like Sir James, is to prosecute those who do not follow the natural rules of justice, making an example of them, it has to be nipped in the bud at an early stage, the child protection conference stage, this is exactly where the engineering begins.
      I have held up too many parents, including yourself, not to feel some relief from this judgement. I just wish two parents we know were alive today to see this, the victims of social engineering, or as I’ve told you, in my eyes, social cleansing

      • stella aka toni macleod

        couldnt have said it better myself nana im a perfect example

        prior to SS involvement i had my own businesses my own house several grand savings all the material items you could ever desire all the kids despite being all under 5 had their own tv and sky in their bedroom i was a strong confident determined person who valued family i was the one who replaced me gran and grandad doing the sunday dinners for all the family i helped and supported all the rest of the family financially and practically by taking their kids into my home aswell as my own despite working 3 jobs and being a stay at home full time mam the only one i left the kids for was my night job at orange when they were in bed working the call centre i took no shit from anyone (pardon the french andrew) no drink drug or mental health issues kids thriving in my care achieving all their milestones and more happy outgoing polite well behaved i had drive and i achieved what i aimed for i never failed

        enter social services

        lost the kids ….future risk of emotional harm from what the mother may say unpredictable actions and words

        now i have diagnosed PTSD from care proceedings i cant leave the house most days i cant sleep i cant walk into a shop during normal hours of opening coz i end up walking out in tears if i see someone shouting at their kids coz i cant help think why the hell do you have ya kids you dont deserve them i worshipped my kids n i havent got mine and i walk out angry hurt and wanting to slap the person and say you dont know how lucky you are ! or i see clothes and toys i know theyd like and walk out in tears i cant think of anything about what they are doing iv lost two houses every possession i ever had im in debt for the first time in my life i wake when i finally manage to get to sleep in tears screaming coz i remember them getting taken away or i dream there getting hurt n crying out for me n i cant do anything i still dont take drugs but i no longer work im angry i get nowt done and quite a few times iv thought of suicide to get a break from it all a few times if im honest but then i havent got the ass to follow through with it coz i imagine the kids’s faces and i couldnt leave karma and sooty etc as no one would ever look after them as well as me so never get passed the thought stage i cant stand to be around ‘normal’ (none ss victims ) people coz they dont understand what its like every day for us lot the oh itl get better bs they spill or when they whine over their mundane troubles its like wtf get a grip try having your whole reason for living ripped away then ask ya self if you still think its ok to moan that ya kettles broke n the shop are saying the warranty is void !? and i drink when it gets to much to get those few precious hours of silence from my thoughts and the living hell and living bereavement im suffering at least if the kids had died i would have had closure but i cant their out there somewhere

        theyve destroyed everything im a total shell or more appropriately skeleton of who and what i once was and then have the cheek to say ohh sorry Mrs Macleod you should just accept it and move on we think you prioritise the fight with the la more than your kids NOOOO you god dam IDIOTS if you give me my kids back id never ever want anything to do with a single one of you !

        but thats the side the ‘care system’ doesnt want to admit or see they destroy everyone that is ever unlucky enough to be involved in it as im not even going there on the damage theyve done to MY kids my flesh and blood other than to say anyone that thinks a 5 year old little girl self harming on her arms urinating her self day and night and grinding her teeth so much she has no front teeth AT ALL after removal from her mam her whole family and her brothers or a newborn that has 7 placements in just a few months is ok can KISS MY ASS!!!

        rant over although i do feel better ha ha xx

  6. Would you care to name the social workers since the learned Judge has not? I’m sure the dictat was that they should be named. I won’t share their names (much).

    • As it was the President who set down the guidance and made the decision in this particular case, I’m going to take his reasoning for this. I don’t actually know the names of the social workers, but social media being what it is, I’m sure they are out there somewhere.

      On your other comment, yes, it does smack of an attack on free speech – if it stopped at ‘violence’ it might be something with which people could agree, but it goes too far.

      • The EDL are no more or less violent than the UAF, SWP or anti fascist league. They are more or less the same. Would an adoption case mention membership of those organisations?

      • A reasonable point – it would be wrong to highlight an organisation for violence just because the social worker disagrees with their core values and beliefs if they would not be even-handed with an organisation that was willing to use violence for a cause the social worker was broadly supportive of.

      • On the EDL is no more violent than the UAF, SWP or anti-fascist league claim, a quick search makes me a bit doubtful – there are lots of press reports of convictions for EDL of a significant number of people including their former leader, the same search for UAF turned up 5 convictions relating to one incident, SWP just the same report as the UAF one, and the only match for Anti-fascist league is a report of a conviction for Nick Griffin (who I suspect isn’t a member)

        None of that means that every member of the EDL is violent, nor every member of the other organisations peaceful and law abiding – and it would be unsafe and unfair to draw an assumption that membership of the EDL equates to anything more than that the individual agrees with at least some of the philosophies of the organisation, which in a free society they are entitled to.

        But an assertion that there’s no difference in the organisations as far as violence goes is not something with which I’d agree.

  7. “What cannot be condoned however is expressing these beliefs through violence, irrational behaviour and inflicting physical and psychological pain against others due to their religion, the core beliefs and subfocus of the English Defence League.”

    I’m sorry but what kind of moron is this social worker? Inflicting physical and psychological pain? Is half of that an attack on free speech?

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  9. It is interesting that social workers are once again (after banning ukip members as fosterers) are allowed to suggest that anyone holding political views with which they disagree should lose their children ! I know nothing of the EDL but would the ban extend to the “monster raving loonies” the “national front” and a horrible imaginary party calling itself “keep Britain White” ?It could later extend to Tories and lib dems all losing their kids;leaving us with the semi communist State that the “SS” establishment seem to desire…….Thought police,mental hospitals for those who disagree,confessions,confessions,and more confessions with a hypocritical cry for diversity when they actually want everybody to think the same way and bring up their children the same way with set routines and boundaries believing in political correctness and a benevolent but despotic State ! Beware I have now said enough to surely indicate that I may have a “borderline personality disorder” so it will soon be “off to the loony bin” for me ;sorry I mean State “care home” …………………..

    • I think that one can draw a bit of a distinction between the EDL and a political party. But as the President makes plain, membership of an organisation that might be thought unsavoury or worse is not itself threshold unless one can establish and prove why it is that that membership poses a risk to a child.

      • Ashamed to be British

        Sinn Fein is a political party … just sayin’

      • I think membership of Sinn Fein wouldn’t be a threshold issue – membership of the IRA MIGHT be, if there was evidence that linked that with a risk that the child would be exposed to violence. Would a parent’s membership of Al Qaeda be threshold? On this judgment, not without a proper chain of reasoning and evidence as to why that poses a risk to the child.

      • No it’s been proved you can be Al Qaeda without problem, Anjum Chowdray was allowed to live with his family, children inclusive- of course he was, to stop him would be social engineering … LoL

        The irony

      • stella aka toni macleod

        Just to clarify there is no membership to the EDL its a street movement always has been always will be it did change into the BFP (political EDL) where they went to European Parliament (i know this as they raised my case there for me!)

        They are not a racist organisation their motto is ….. white black unite and many of them are sikhs and blacks

        no organisation can govern all their followers if racist people decide to have the same views as an organisation and jump on the band wagon then that cant be helped

        i still stand by the original EDL ethos of standing up for and respecting our troops and being against islamic extremists that doesnt make me racist at all the same way i am against the IRA but that doesnt mean i am against all the Irish if people cant make that distinction then thats their problem not mine

        the clashes between EDL UAF ANON etc etc are well documented and both are as bad as each other trust me iv been on both sides because i will always back something if it stands for what i stand for

        so i am not left or right i am central with clarity and sanity

        just because the arrests dont reflect this fact means nothing given that UAF and ANON have their own specialist legal section where they rip the police a new one every demo/event and gain compo for wrongful arrest etc to go towards the next one something that the EDL dont do aswell as they record everything with their own specialist ‘legal overseers’ as they call themselves who spend the full day recording every fairies fart that happens

        moving on to your point about it being in the threshold and how it can be interpreted in my case the judge stated the following in my judgement

        ”When mother was questioned about that, she admitted that it was perhaps a ‘bit extreme’ and that she would not expose her children to it. However she went on to say that when the children were old enough to hold opinions and if they held those sorts of opinions, that was up to them. I found her attitude to this deeply concerning.I am quite satisfied that she herself did not see anything wrong in her actions. In my judgement that demonstrates that the mother has not moved on at all in that aspect of her life. She is still connected with the ethos of the EDL and has been in touch with people connected to that ethos. I remain deeply concerned about the effect such attitudes could have on young, vulnerable children.”

        so apparently i am in the wrong for not imposing my views on the kids WTF !? what ever happened to freedom of expression for all including children !

        yet i still cant see what risk that poses to kids correct me if im wrong but isnt the fact i said i wouldnt impose my views on them and let them make their own minds up when their old enough putting my children first !? xx

      • stella aka toni macleod

        oh and nana just to point out islamic extremists do radicalise their kids to be suicide bombers to the ways of sharia law etc etc they preach hate to their kids from an extremely young age and beat them black and blue regularly but nothing is done as the government know if they tried to go after them theyd declare war and they would cause hell on earth

        the system is biased against us not them its racism reversed but of course if you highlight that your racist !? …. go figure one rule for all in my opinion xx

    • You’re right, where do we stop? No wonder you left this country … Who is right on religion, colour, creed? No one, it’s a matter of personal opinion and views.
      The exact same case (different parents and child) was taken by John Hemming into parliament, where he was laughed out, why!? Is ghis not a serious thing to do to a child and family? Baby with no name comes to mind also- another case of social engineering, the child requires a religious naming ceremony, social services say no and the child is adopted, what God given right do they have to decide on what is the ‘correct’ belief/view?
      I don’t like their lies opinions and beliefs, therefore I demand their children are all given to the care system … Not going to happen is it? Nor should it

  10. “After the opening bit of a threshold document that tells you the child’s name and date of birth and parents, every other paragraph should be sharply focussed on:-

    This is an allegation that can be proved and if proved would demonstrate that the child had suffered significant harm, or is at risk of significant harm.”

    Going to have to quibble with you about second paragraph because some people will misuse it. Far too many times I have had Responses that say that particular facts are not – by themselves alone – sufficient to be significant harm. Which means I have to explain yet again the basic law that a Threshold Document contains all the facts on which the LA relies and that Threshold can be passed by a combination of facts (none of which would as an isolated fact be sufficient to be significant harm).

    Also do you ever get the annoyingly stupid response that “this paragraph applies to the other respondent and so cannot comment”. Particularly stupid when given as response to criminal convictions of the other respondent.

    • A fair point – each individual point could not be sufficient to cross threshold, but in totality they might. (the link that the allegation if proven has to the risk of harm still ought to be in the mind of the drafter though)

      Too often though, thresholds end up having things like this one, which show that a person is unsavoury or flawed but not being something which legitimately goes to threshold.

      Responses to threshold are notoriously awful – I wish they would stop being mitigation and focus on whether the allegation is accepted, denied, or accepted if X wording were used instead.

  11. A very important case, at last demonstrating the judicial sense that was lacking in the Supreme Court re B (apart from Lady Hale).

    Many important themes, not least the bizarre incompetence of the reports and statements of the social workers and the Guardian.

    But, (and I have asked this here before without reply) – what is the responsibility of the local authority solicitor in such cases?

    These solicitors are employed by the same employer as the local authority social work teams that make care proceedings applications. When social services make applications for Care Orders on the basis of inadequate, exaggerated, negatively biased (and even sometimes invented) ‘evidence’ – is the formal professional responsibility of the local authority solicitor to challenge this so as not to mislead the court? Or is it the duty of the solicitor to represent his/her ‘client department’ (social work) by presenting the case as instructed (whilst knowing that the evidence is not a true representation of the family circumstances)?

    I would like to see this discussed and determined, as, if the primary duty of the local authority solicitor is not to mislead the court, then this would result in the filtering out of some of the most egregious social services applications for care and adoption orders. Failing in this duty would result in the solicitors being referred to their professional disciplinary process (whatever their employers thought).

    • The Judge does call out the LA legal department in this case – in the passage explaining why he did not choose to name the social workers.

      I did reply to this issue the last time you raised it – because it is an interesting one. It can be easy to get caught up in the idea that the job as a lawyer is to win at all costs – and there is the duty to fearlessly and without favour represent your client, but there is also the primary duty not to mislead the Court and to give the client advice that they may not want to hear.

    • “These solicitors are employed by the same employer as the local authority social work teams that make care proceedings applications. When social services make applications for Care Orders on the basis of inadequate, exaggerated, negatively biased (and even sometimes invented) ‘evidence’ – is the formal professional responsibility of the local authority solicitor to challenge this so as not to mislead the court? Or is it the duty of the solicitor to represent his/her ‘client department’ (social work) by presenting the case as instructed (whilst knowing that the evidence is not a true representation of the family circumstances”

      Dr Dale,

      I would be grateful for an explanation of how you think this would work.

      How is the LA solicitor to determine that the evidence of the Social Worker is inadequate? Or exaggerated? Or negatively biased? Or invented?

      What is the LA solicitor to do about the separate evidence from the Police? From the Health Visitor? From the midwife? School? Housing? Psychiatric Nurse? How is the LA solicitor to determine that their evidence is inadequate or exaggerated or negatively biased or invented?

      The parents will not provide any evidence until proceedings have been issued (on the basis of evidence from Social Worker, police et al). So how is the LA solicitor to determine these points about evidence until the counter evidence is produced? Until a hearing has taken place and evidence has been tested how is the LA solicitor to know that “… The evidence is not a true representation of the family circumstances”?

      How will this apply to solicitors for parents? How will they determine that the evidence of their client is inadequate or exaggerated or negatively biased or invented?

      I look forward to hearing the practical steps that could make this work.

      • Walklikeacat, I was asking a question, rather than stating a position. (I am still trying to work out my position.) However, your questions are very good ones, but they are not mine for this purpose.

        My question is: does the LA solicitor owe a primary duty to the court, or to his/her employer? Is his/her primary duty to the judge (in the case), or the Chief Executive of the employing council (and, by association, the insurers of the Council)?

      • As with any lawyer, a Local Authority lawyer cannot mislead the Court. If they are given a piece of evidence that they know is not true, or are asked to present an argument to Court that they know is untrue, they cannot do so.

        As Walklikeacat is highlighting, it isn’t the job of the LA lawyer to conduct their own forensic exercise into the veracity of the social work evidence – just like a lawyer can “think” or “believe” that their client did X, they are entitled to fearless representation of their case unless the lawyer KNOWS that their client did X and is denying it. It can’t be the role of a lawyer to judge the evidence and come to a conclusion that they KNOW what happened. That’s why we have Judges.

        If, as a lawyer, I think that the case my client is advancing, or the way they want to advance that case is not the best way of doing so, I will give them my advice, but the ultimate decision (unless the line is crossed into misleading the Court) is for the client – just as it is with parents and their lawyers. We advise and present, but we do so on the client’s instructions.

        One also has to bear in mind that because of the sequential nature of evidence, if a parent is asserting that the social worker has lied and produces evidence to that effect, that comes AFTER the social work evidence is filed. You’d probably go back to the social worker with the parents statement and evidence and clarify whether the social worker needs to amend their statement or make a correction, but that’s a bit different to the idea of the lawyer ‘challenging’ the social work evidence.

  12. Just a little point father had sex with an under age girl , which appears to be OK because it was supposedly consensual, yet the mother also has sexually abused a minor and has been completely ruled out. We don’t actually know the gender or age of the child she sexually abused.
    Is this anything to do with the different standards applied to men and woman who commit crime?
    I may be wrong but as the court is part of the establishment which is essentially misogynist and conservative with a small c and quite often with a capital c as well there does seem to be a perception of how woman ought to behave. Perhaps judges still expect woman to have the “elegance,fragrance and radiance ” of Mary Archer.

    • The mother is in prison for sexual offences against a minor – we don’t have much detail on that. There are two possibilities – she’s ruled out because of the offence itself, or she is ruled out because her prison sentence makes her unavailable to care for the child, because she is going to be in prison for a significant period of time.

      She’s remarkably absent from the judgment – I had to read it quite a few times to really appreciate just how little she appears within it. The judgment doesn’t really identify which of those two possibilities mean that she can’t be the carer for the child, or whether she featured in the threshold document at all. (The Judge found that threshold was not crossed, and thus had not been crossed at the time the baby was removed from her care – she gave birth in prison. I’m still a bit curious – I would have been putting the mother’s risk to children in my threshold document, and thus arguing that threshold was crossed)

      • … Or, she doesn’t want to care for the child?

      • 52.The local authority’s case in relation to threshold was put under seven headings. Items 1, 2 and 4 relate solely to the mother and in the circumstances were not explored further. Those relating to the father are items 3, 5, 6 and 7. The allegations are that:

      • Thank you Ben – that is interesting, because the Judge found that threshold wasn’t met but it seems to me that it was capable of being met on the issue of mother posing a sexual risk to children as a result of her conviction (the relevant date being the time at which the baby was removed from her care). It wouldn’t affect the outcome because the Judge would still have sent the child back to dad, but it seems peculiar to decide that at the time protective measures were taken (which is the relevant date in law) threshold was not met.

      • Yes it is interesting, I am wondering to what extent the President’s action was calculated ( I find it hard to believe that it wasn’t calculated at all).

        Part of me thinks that it was very calculated because of certain things he says in the judgement and the other judgements he points out in the latter part of this judgement.

        I wish he had actually gone into the detail of why he dismissed the need to deal with the mother with regard to the threshold (if it was calculated). The mother had finished her sentence before the final hearing and was present at it and has contact with the child.

        As you point out what the relevant date is with regard to threshold, were the “protective” measures actually really necessary, proportionate and justifiable?

        A pre birth assessment was carried out before the child was born (but is even this questionable, with regard to the father ?).

        The mother was serving a custodial sentence (and after giving birth and being given the all clear herself was taken back to prison), she had already counted herself out with regard to being the child’s primary carer. What risk was there at this point to the child from the mother ?

        At this point in a perfect world I would say that the father should have been able to take the baby home with him(once the baby had been discharged by the medical staff) and then himself applied to the court for a child arrangements order and at the same time contact with the mother could have also have been dealt with.

        According to the supreme court article 8 is not engaged when a court assesses if or not the threshold is crossed, but then again is it? The father had never significantly harmed a child and there was no allegation of him causing significant harm to a child and the LA’s case against him showed no direct risk of significant harm to the child and his relationship with the mother had ended so what was necessary and proportionate about investigating him at all and placing the child in foster care AT BIRTH (with no case built against the father)?

        Why did the state intervene at all with the father and come between him and his child? (I know the answers but I think it is time that the law and social services moved forward).

    • The majority of cases that involve females sexually abusing children never get to a criminal court, never mind a guilty verdict. The cps will not bring them to court unless the evidence is extremely high, otherwise juries (who are members of society not the Conservative establishment) do not convict women for the offence, society is still not ready to accept that women commit sexual offences against children (or anyone for that matter), society has been conditioned against seeing women as perpetrators of abuse, never mind sexual abuse.

      But perceptions are changing and the pace at which those perceptions are changing is increasing, since 2000 there has been an increase of about 250% for females being convicted of DV and an increase of about 100% for females being convicted of violent crimes.

      Those being convicted are not convicted as some form of punishment because they did not behave in the way that the Conservative establishment expected them too but because the evidence said to the jury that they had committed the crime

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  14. So if in the future she did want to care for the child she could , maybe subject to a child arrangements order?
    I noticed you dodged the misogynist question , probably wisely. I don’t rant about much, at least I don’t think I do, but I am not aware of any other profession were extremely intelligent woman still routinely wear skirts and killer heels as a uniform.

    • stella aka toni macleod

      hookers do ……. and both of them are money whores 😉

      a low comment but a very true one :p xx

  15. Stella Tell me its none of my business, just a bit concerned about you that’s all. I had the nightmares , the inability to cope initially . I also lost my home and ended up on benefits. I am sure I love and miss my kids just as much as you. I think I must have cried a bath full of tears and stood in the middle of a field and screamed on more than one occasion. I am damn lucky in that I fell into the right support at the beginning, no thanks to the NHS. To start with it was as simple for me to simply chunk the day, even into 30 minute segments if necessary and say I can get through this for the next 30 minutes even if I could not keep it up for a lifetime. I also recognise triggers such as you describe, one of mine is police cars because the police conduct traumatised me, but if I say to myself that it is not a real threat just a feeling and the adrenaline is making me react fearfully .
    I am really rebuilding my life and quite frankly that is the best way to stick two fingers up. You need to keep strong to keep fighting.

    If none of the above is helpful just ignore it x

    • Ashamed to be British

      Everyone who has LA involvement suffers PTSD, no normal person could go through this without coming out unscathed.
      She wasn’t okay, she still isn’t, but she has bounced back, because she has a good support network to make sure she always does 🙂

    • stella aka toni macleod

      bless ya hun na theyl never make me a victim im a born survivor

      i have my wobbles i have my bad days i have my worse days but i have my good days i have my kick ass days and a few days a week i get to play mammy again to my daughter and son over night unsupervised away from the trauma triggers of ss which they cant do sweet FA about and they know it so i get to be normal so to speak feeding the horses catching minors down the river cuddling and watching frozen having tea parties etc even just reading their school books with them stops the pain

      im damaged as everyone who goes through the system understands but im not broken and thats why they hate me because no matter what they chuck at me i bounce back up with a middle finger and a c bomb in reply

      its one of them il deal better when its not as raw iv only just lost TJ a few months ago but iv been doing this 5 years none stop now lost 5 kids iv done other peoples cases my own cases iv campaigned iv protested iv raised the matter to every avenue media government ECHR european parliament houses of commons etc etc and iv had other crap chucked at me from all sides im just drained emotionally physically and mentally its like being in a war zone for years on end with no R&R the army recognizes their squaddies need a break but the so called care system doesnt and you know ya self its 24/7 with them

      when i get stressed i take as much on as possible to keep me busy to stop thinking but then i burn myself out melt down and bounce back iv done that for the last 5 years during proceedings im used to being a mam iv had kids since i was 15 then my own kids from 18 its hard to cope when the house is empty and i have no one to moddy coddle and care for

      i tried the therapy thing i court ordered ss to pay 150 quid per week for a hour’s psychologist appointment she swore and talked about shoes we got on famously ! lmao but it didnt do anything to help like nana says im lucky iv got a dam good support network the only thing that is going to make me better is getting my angels home

      but ta lol its one of them iv let the ‘fuck it day’ over stay its welcome the past few weeks but im starting to get back on track just needed a kick up the ass which i got from nana the other night so im starting to get back on track just needed a bit R&R and to redo me war paint lmao xx

      • Toni
        I haven’t suffered anything remotely like your losses. I haven’t and couldn’t walk a mile in your shoes. Please forgive me if I sound like an idiot.

        The worst that happened to me was agreeing that my child spent the school week with me Sunday night to Thursday, and then Friday to Sunday with my ex husband. I did the getting her to school with everything she needed, and made sure she did her homework, which meant there was very little time for just being together.

        My ex husband got the fun time to take her to theme parks and anywhere else she wanted over the weekend. And on Sunday nights I’d have to make her do the homework she should have done over the weekend, and thus became once again the person who didn’t want her to be happy and made her life miserable. Not much time for being together there, either.

        And yet we survived; somehow, and sometime, she recognised that there are at least two sides to every story, and maybe I wasn’t the wicked witch of the west after all.

        I got through those years putting one foot on the ground after the other; not very ambitious but that was all I had, because the one thing I was determined not to do was to criticise her father to her or in front of her, or in any way it could get back to her, no matter what he said about me, and he said a lot. And that took all the strength I had.

        I’m so glad you’re getting it back together, and that your Nana has picked her moment. Like I said, I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to suffer your losses. But one foot on the ground after the other worked for me, and maybe it would work for you. It’s worth a try, and I really, really hope you can carry on getting it back together!

  16. Stella and Ashamed to be British Thanks for your replies it’s reassurance just know the pain that’s all. I agree with the PTSD in some form,perhaps it ought to be factored in is actually causing a parent to have a mental health problem going to benefit a child’s long term welfare?
    The system is inhumane all round.

    • That’s exactly it, the whole family unit is destroyed, then when a parent is halfway close to getting the child returned, the local authority start on the ‘mental health issues’ that they’ve created, most will suffer panic attacks and reactive depression, which deems them unfit to care for the child, the child is then adopted or spends their childhood in care … The next step is to remove that childs children because they don’t know how to be a mother, if the system is so wonderful, why are we removing the children of those who have been in care, to feed the never ending child machine? To admit the system is not fit for the purpose, then place the baby of a care child back into it is ludicrous, that’s real social engineer ing for you, these judges need to recognise what Sir Munby has, separation from natural family does not work, putting in gentle support does.
      One of the Rotherham abuse cases is fighting for her child as we speak, because she was let down by a broken system, they want to put her child in the same position?!

    • stella aka toni macleod

      stevie i understand your problem i had that i was the parent who did the school work the chores the bath times the youve got to pick your toys up or the black bag of doom will get them etc etc while struggling with cash while the ex could play ‘good cop’ and do the fun stuff used to wind the life out of me it should be equal footing grr and hey i maywalk a dirty mile but at least i have pretty shoes 🙂 !!! xx

      i make good what i get to have its broken my heart this weekend coz iv had the kids and my sons ‘carer’ (i use that term loosely VERY loosely!) has chosen to tell him his dad isnt his dad hes 7 ffs ! …. so instead of saying anything negative iv just said hes really lucky coz he has two dads a dna dad that has went off on and adventure and cant be there to love him but if he comes back will be and a dad who hes always called dad who because he loved him so much since he was in my tummy wanted to be his dad and has acted and been his dad and will always be there and act as his dad no matter what coz he loves him to the moon and back just winds me up they use my kids to hurt and get at me when hes never known any different until they said that to him its pathetic and malicious to say the least but this is what we face daily that people dont see because the court appointed carers are always right despite being totally wrong ! ….

      mm dam rights you dont come away from proceedings unscathed 😦

      and nana all you have to do is look at the grounds for why LM didnt get returned …. mother is soooo traumatized by the removal of the children that she must adjust to having the children removed before she can have them returned WTF what the actual F**k !? says it all grrr

      • You handled that appropriately- very child focused, unlike the comment made to him previously, some people have no brain!
        LM was a target from the start- we both know that, there was no threshold for her, apart from your EDL association 2 years previously, I’m not sure you can radicalise a new born tbh, so why not support you and LM to think differently if that’s what they insist on? IMHO that story just proves it’s not risk of emotional harm, it’s hitting targets

  17. I think this whole judgement just reeks of the separation between the world of the family courts, the professionals who deal with it, and also those regular commentators here who have suffered at their hands.

    I am simply gobsmacked that the judge criticised the social worker for describing the father’s sex with an under age girl, i.e., still, I believe, statutory rape, as ‘immoral’. As well as being unlawful I would think that most people in the outside world would describe such activities as immoral, or abusive, or some other perjorative term, and I don’t see why this shouldn’t be stated. Why was this bloke supposed to be immune from criticism?. Clearly it happened a long time ago, which is relevant, but if the father could not regret his actions now, what with the almost daily publicity and condemnation about such allegedly ‘consensual’ activities, then that would seem to me and many ordinary people also to be a relevant fact.

    Now I learn from SM what I read nowhere else in the press, that the child’s mother and his former partner is herself a woman currently in prison for sex with a minor, If this had received the same publicity as the judge’s criticism of the social workers, and their misguided comments about the EDL, I think many who supported this judgement in the popular press would be appalled.

    There is also the growing tendency of judges to form favourable opinions of family members ability to cope on the basis of their day in court, even when, as here, there is evidence available of their repeated and recent domestic violence/disharmony. Why do we, as a nation, bother funding interventions, laws, and policing to end domestic violence and sexual abuse, when as far as our learned judges are concerned this is just some peoples’ normal.

    I understand that much of the argument here is technical: about how combative the threshold arguments should be, and basic rules of drafting statements etc etc., but it makes me very uneasy. Possibly the judge could make no other decision on the evidence before him, but I think he has completely minimised the future risks for A, who it seems is to be left in a profoundly disfunctional background, and with what real safeguards?

    • Ashamed to be British

      Dysfunctional doesn’t always equate to abuse or harm

    • I think it might help if you reread the judgement; the President dealt with the the father having sex, at the age of 17, with a 13 year old girl whom he believed to be 16 i.e. over the age of consent, in some detail: he didn’t criticise the social worker for describing it as immoral. Munby himself accepted that it was immoral.

      He criticised the social worker for failing to ask whether this immoral act nine years previously had any bearing on the father’s ability to care for the child, on the specific facts of this case, where there was no evidence of any kind that the father represented a danger to that child. You seem to have overlooked the fact that he accepted that the father may have minimised it, but that isn’t the point: had the social worker initiated inquiries which provided evidence that the father was one of the group of men whom Munby identified as posing a sexual risk then that would be a fact. But the social worker didn’t; instead it was a mere allegation.

      And then there were yet more mere allegations, all bundled together, with no facts to back them up, put forward as a mishmash which looked dreadful but fell apart as soon as it was exposed to some judicial analysis. That was the thrust of Munby’s judgement; that the social workers, the CG and the Legal Department of the Local Authority had completely failed to provide evidence to support their claims.

      I have no idea why A’s mother features so little in the judgement; unlike the social workers involved I don’t regard speculation as a substitute for facts, so I do not propose to speculate.

      I do, however, take issue with your claim about ‘the growing tendency of judges …….on the basis of their day in court’. The evaluation of witnesses is what a trial judge is there for; that’s why the Court of Appeal is so reluctant to overturn such evaluations. In this case, for example, the CG’s written evidence supported that of the social workers. She completely changed her evidence once she was in the witness box. The social workers also failed in the witness box to substantiate their allegations with facts, not least to demonstrate that there had been ‘repeated and recent domestic violence/disharmony’. You appear to believe that if they said so it must be true, thus dispensing with trifling details like evidence that it was true.

      By contrast the father and his mother came over comparatively well; they were far from perfect, but then most of us are far from perfect. I do not think you would be happy to find yourself in a Court where a Judge disregarded your evidence merely because, notwithstanding the fact that he believed you to be truthful and trustworthy, allegations had been made against you and ‘there’s no smoke without a fire’….

    • stella aka toni macleod

      what you have to take into consideration is that 1 dv incident is reported every minute of every day 24/7 what you need to take into account is the gov cannot accommodate for the excessive need for care spaces it would take to facilitate that sheer volume of care cases the plo would receive should every dv incident result in removal sad shocking but true the system would erupt in chaos xx

    • “statutory rape” ?

      The closest thing to that here is rape of a child under the age of 13, the law through out history has had grey areas but its taken that a person under the age of 13 cannot give consent and therefore sexual activity with a child under 13 cannot be consensual (but the law is not worded like that, consent does not come into it), there is just a blanket ban on sexual activity with children under the age of 13.

      But having said that “consent” can be considered in sentencing (if a person is found guilty), but usually only if the offender is a child in the eyes of the law (under 18).

      The father’s offence was sexual activity with a child (this is the offence if the “victim” is 13 or 14 or 15 ) because consent was given and because he would have been considered to be a child himself in the eyes of the law he would of faced a lesser punishment than that of an adult if he had been convicted. If consent had not been given then he would of been charged with rape,not “statutory rape”. There is no question about consent being given so therefore he did not rape her.

  18. Why do we, as a nation, bother funding interventions, laws, and policing to end domestic violence and sexual abuse, when as far as our learned judges are concerned this is just some peoples’ normal.

    What intervention? Rotherham/less than 10% of domestic violence incidents reported to the police are recorded as crimes ditto rape

  19. It has been commented previously that parents have been excluded from court my recent experience has been that all the solicitors the social worker the public guardian sit in a room come up with a plan and then my solicitor comes and tells me the plan and that it is best to agree to it. Being fair we haven’t got to final hearing yet and also being fair I do need my child to have this placement as she needs the therapeutic treatment. What I have never understood is why it has to be through a care order

    • That is a bit different to the Court room. But yes, it is important to know that when your lawyer gives you advice, it is just that. Advice. You are entitled to say “I don’t want to do that, I want to fight” and the lawyer will then have to follow your instructions. There may be very good reasons for your lawyer advising you to do something that you don’t want – and if you don’t know what they are, ask them to explain. If you don’t understand following that explanation, they need to explain it again, better.

      And even then, if you really don’t want to do what they are advising you to do, you can say “I don’t want to do that, thank you. I want you to do X, instead”

  20. There is a huge difference between 2 teenagers engaging in a consensual sexual relationship and one human sexually abusing another. What is illegal is not always what is immoral and what society are conditioned to see as “immoral” or “moral” reflects its cultural and religious influences and those influences can come from it being used for social and political control and even for economic gain and productivity and the vested interests of others.

    The law with regard to the age of consent was NOT originally designed to deal with teenager’s consensual sexual relationships and that is why it was rarely used against those that were close in age and in their teens, if criminal proceedings were thought to be needed because acts of a sexual nature occurred and they were abusive, nonconsensual etc, then tougher laws were used to deal with it.

    The criminal law amendment act 1885 that ORIGINALLY raised the “age of consent”to16 (from 13) for FEMALES was the same act that brought in the criminal offence of “gross indecency” BETWEEN 2 MEN (male homosexuality, the labouchere amendment, it made even a hug between men questionable, sodomy/buggery were already illegal,but actual penetration had to be proved so convictions were rare). After the act was brought in it was still possible to actually get married under the age of 16 (girls at 12 and boys at 14) until the age of marriage act 1929

    The criminal law amendment act 1885 was a knee jerk reaction to circumstances at the time, When bad cases/issues are highlighted, bad laws can and have been passed. The circumstances at the time involved young people and children being trafficked into prostitution and domestic service, they were basically bought and sold by the middle and upper classes and then sexually abused.

    The act was mainly sold to the “outraged” public (mostly the middle and upper classes, who were actually the ones abusing the children) as, to stop those of a higher socio-economic position taking advantage of the poor’s young/children in a sexual manner (.paying poor 13 year old girls and boys for sex)

    The act was not thought about correctly at the time and it was rushed through parliament because of a public scandal exposed by a journalist called William Stead, who had had money given to him by Josephine Butler ( a social reformer and women’s rights campaigner and feminist) to buy a young girl for prostitution, He lied and sensationalised his articles and he later went to prison for child abduction and sexual assault ).

    There were others behind the act too, religious loons and others with vested interests like the SPCC (later to become, basically the NSPCC), salvation army, barnardo’s,many of whom had been involved with deporting the poor’s children across the old empire to a “better” life (one of slavery and physical and sexual abuse, which continued until 1972). Changes were needed and action did need to be taken to change society for the better and protect children but most of those involved were social purity groups and individuals and blamed all the ills of society and vice etc on MEN’s “lust” (that’s partly why they went for the “gross indecency” offence and there was no “age of consent” for males) or and lack of christianity/religion.

    Josephine Butler actually did a lot of good things (especially for women), her interest in the act was with regard to female prostitution and protecting women and girls from sexual offences but she was in bed with the others behind the act and they were into social engineering and taking away sexual freedoms and theirs and her views and values came from middle class religious victorian backgrounds which at the very least helped to shape gender stereotypes and the way society perceives males and females.

    Teenagers have been having sexual relationships with eachother since the start of the human race and will continue to do so until the end of the human race, it is not immoral or wrong and it is certainly not against nature, infact its been part of evolution and development and is partly a reason why the human race actually exists today. Teenagers are seen as immature etc but their brains are going through a process of being rewired and are actually adaptive brains, they are just as capable of making choices as adults are and use the same cognitive reasoning processes as adults to make choices and solve problems and assess risk but they will take more risks and that is because they are the next generation and need to move forward and leave the safety of their parents and home to make their future and their life and a new world for them leaving the past behind them (its this that helped spread the human race across the world and got the human race to where it is) ….but there is a whole industry around the extension of childhood and many with vested interests, for 99.9999% of human history most died before they were 35 and 18 was middled aged, we hold our “children” back for our own emotional and psychological needs. Children need to be protected and teenagers need to be protected from exploitation and abuse but they also need to live life to the full (if they wish too and feel ready too).

    In this country now because of the sexual offences act 2003 we have a situation where teenagers can be labelled as criminals and sex offenders because they participate in consensual sexually activity with eachother, if a 15 year old boy has sex with a 15 year old girl with her consent both can be charged with an offence, that’s insane and is not going to protect them infact it could do exactly the opposite. Criminalising them is not the answer at all, it shows just how backwards our society is and its the adults that come up with this.

    Anybody that attempts to debate the issues is usually attacked and the debate closed down (the same as debating the child “protection” system, no one wants to be seen to be on the “abusers” side) but about 50% of teenagers are engaging in some form of sexual activity with eachother by the time they are 14 and so therefore could be convicted of a criminal offence and labelled as immoral, is the state going to take all their children ? I don’t think its the teenagers who are immoral, its the state and a question of human rights.

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