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Comment rules

Not many

1. Don’t name people from a case unless the Bailii judgment I’ve linked names them.  [Nobody has ever done that here, but it is a golden rule of any discussion about Court cases involving children]

2. Disagreeing with me is fine

3. Disagreeing with other commentators is fine

4. Disagreeing with judgments, and judges is fine

5. Personal abuse of  other commentators, people involved in the judgments we are discussing is not fine.   [“Judge Tickletrout got this one wrong, because… ” is okay  “Judge Tickletrout is a man-hating old hag” is not okay]

6. It is preferred if you can keep on topic  (or a digression arising from the topic that is interesting).  I don’t mind people who have a view that social workers are devils, but you don’t need to share that view  if what we’re discussing is something entirely different. I’m sure that a chance will come for you to raise that point, soon enough.

7. Godwin’s law does apply to this blog, and breach of it is an automatic loss of an argument

I’m afraid that I can’t give legal advice about particular cases. If you want to know ‘is there a case where such and such happened’ I usually try and find it, or if there’s a geeky technical point I’ll try and answer, but I can’t answer the ‘how do I get my kids back’ one, other than very generally.

If you are involved in court proceedings about children and want some specific advice, your starting points are :-  a solicitor on the Children Panel (google “Children Panel + your town” to find some), a McKenzie Friend (same again, or you can ask here and one of the ones who visit might contact you), Lucy Reed’s website for litigants in person     or Sarah Phillimore’s website  – and actually mumsnet is pretty good.


31 responses »

  1. Re: Ethical Dilemmas And Blood Transfusions post~Blood is used only as a volume expander as it is dead heat treated and carries no oxygen also carries other persons DNA so body has a lot to fight. Blood being processed boosts cost and has short shelf life.
    Saline is salt water and humans are between 50 to 75% water. Ambulances carry saline which is the first blood alternative.

    • As someone who has at least passable knowledge of human physiology (which it would appear you don’t) I can definitively say that you are wrong.

      Saline is used as a volume expander. It doesn’t need any matching, doesn’t age significantly, and is cheap. That is why it is carried on all ambulances.

      Whole blood is used for all the things that blood does including oxygen transport, whilst specialist separated blood products such as platelets allow treatment in a subset of blood function (for platelets that would be clotting).

  2. RE: “The pages of the most extravagant French novel…” How did it finish that proceedings? Do you know it?

    • I don’t, I’m afraid. I imagine that there is a criminal investigation being undertaken, and that all of the divorce petitions will have been dismissed on the basis that none of the petitioners actually lived in England (but were Italian and using an English address that they didn’t actually live at)

      • Well, IMHO it would be a bad end of a story developed between the folds of British justice..
        I say bad end because it could to be created a dangerous precedent.
        As far as I know, many of that petitions were yet in state of decree absolute, and most of those cases were 2-3 years old, so it could be established that a decree absolute, on the basis of circumstances which it should be determined whether they are illegal or not, since no degree of judgment until the decree absolute established this, could be canceled with severe social consequences on people who on the basis of that decree absolute made himself a new life.
        It seems a Don Quixote’s struggle against the windmills…

      • Dear Nino – we do now know, I wrote about it this week. Rapisarda v Colladon part 2. It is worth reading (about the case, I’m not claiming that my take on it is vital)

      • Hi, I have come across your site and can only assume you know the law very well. I have a question for you, see if you can guide me to the correct information that I need to find. Its not something I want to discuss on here. If you can, c
        could you please reply to me.
        Many Thanks

  3. you may find this of interest where hair strand testing in children’s hair is concerned there is no real science behind it….

    • I hadn’t appreciated that hair strand testing of children was happening (other than that very weird case where there was a toddler who was hair-strand tested and her mother shaved her head the next day), but yes, I would be deeply troubled about this. I have long been concerned that the companies doing hair-strand testing won’t publish their false positive and false negative rates (for commercial reasons, but huge amounts of public money are being spent and important decisions being made without that key piece of evaluation information). I would want to see chapter and verse on how testing of children’s hair has been scientifically established to be accurate. Am surprised that Courts are authorising this other than in highly extreme set of circumstances.

      • Hair strand testing… I assume you are aware that in 2017 a direction was sent to all courts advising them to be cautious of accepting the results of hair strand testing given that redolox ( prioviously trimega) were being investigated for tampering. Interestingly, testing in relation to police cases ( drunk driving, etc). Were retested right back to 2012. The family courts limited any retesting to a much shorter previous period. ( up to 2015)… I’m aware of one family, where the children had been placed for adoption on the basis of false tests, getting their children back.

  4. Hi, I wanted to ask a question regarding your section 20 blog post.

    I have a special needs daughter who is violent towards her younger brother who is only 3 year. The hospital have raised this as a safeguarding issue. Social Services think that this behaviour can be managed at home with support, but we disagree and have had to resort to our MP and Councillors for them to accommodate her under section 20.

    They have now sent us a bill to pay for her care at a weekly rate.

    Social Services are taking this as a voluntary looked after child.

    Is there any legal point we can argue here that due to the safeguarding issue at home that is not a voluntary looked after child case but a mandatory one? If its a mandatory one, do we stil have to pay?

    We have had an incident where we ended up in A & E whilst trying to deescalate an incident.

    Thank you in advance for your kindness

    • Hi Shads

      The Council can technically charge a parent who is earning money for the costs of caring for their child in voluntary accommodation. In practice,most don’t. Note that they can only charge a maximum of the going rate for foster carers (i.e if the child has profound special needs and the costs are more than usual, or if the parents are high earners, the council can’t charge more than standard foste care allowance)

      This post talks about the legal powers and the difficulties inherent in that (and gives a few suggestions for defeating such a request)

    • Has your daughter been assessed for a ECHP? The costs of residential care, and therapy for her can be covered by the LA under that. IPSEA can advise. With regard to you contributing to her care costs, then you have to be left with enough money to meet your families needs, this is usually based on the minimum income guarantee set by the government. However, they also have to take into account any other reasonable costs ( car payments, home improvements, and of course your mortgage/rent/council tax costs). I would advise getting some legal advice.

  5. Two of my sons were removed by care order in 2005 and are now held under a Court of Protection Order.I “might at some future time show a lack of deference to social services”.(I put the phone down on the Assistand Director of Children’s Services when he said my estranged wife was well enough to look after our two youngest children who are both autistic.She died 7 weeks after the full care order was made,having again been granted residence.
    The council intended to turn her bungalow into a small group home for the two but were startled at the speed with which she died-breast cancer,lung cancer,chronic diabetes leading to the amputation of her legs.
    Unsupervised contact continued with me for a year,and still continues,while they designated her home a Children’s Home.(The boys were in respite care for 10 months).The eldest had the care order applied the day before his 17th birthday-the last legal day-moved into the Home three weeks before his 18th birthday,and spent the next three years in a registered Children’s home,identified by Ofsted as containing “two males under 18”.
    They are now being held under CoP Orders,but not full Deprivation of Liberty Orders.

  6. Hear goes…. We are due a PLO meeting soon, we’ve been told where not at court proceedings yet aslong as we complete actions set by the ss solicitor, when completed wel get her back home….. our daughter was placed with her grand parents under a worded agreement, THEN THIS HAPPENED, the grandparents decided due to nothing less than spite withdrew, so we was bullied into placing her in “temporary care” with foster carers, we said we wanted her to go to my sister (who is 100%law abiding) but ss said its only for a night until everything is sorted….now because we were bullied into signing “temporary care” ss wont put her with my sister, we had full unsupervised contact all day everyday when our daughter was at the grandparents but now its supervised 3times weekly, also as if that wasn’t enough, the actions set by the PLO solicitor cannot be completed without our daughter with us, so we are now going to the next PLO meeting with uncompleted actions, meaning we wont get our daughter back, even though this is out of our hands, what’s worse is our baby’s social worker who knows our case inside out is leaving, hence leaving our caseload to someone who doesn’t know anything about us……please tell us what to do, I’m petrified, their going to take my baby and its not our fault, someone told ss we was dealing coke so they hair folicle tested us and it came back positive for minimum use also we’ve had a few arguments but thats all, the PLO solicitor said she’s looking to get our daughter back to us but that was before she was placed in foster care, what do I do??

    • Hi i sm after some advise please.
      My children have been on child protection plan (DBMC) for 3mths following an armed raid on our property in regauds to info that my adult son had a fire arm (he didnt). To cut along story short ss say they aknowledge we are only there because of this incident which was due to my adult son, for this reason and the fact of overcrowding, they want myself my partner and my adult son to sign a written agreement that he will of moved out of family home by 30th of sept. They want me to get my son to sign this what happens if he refuses.They also say once this has happened they will reveiw and take us off plan as we have done all that has been required of us.

      • Also just to add i am not expecting my adult son to take this well and fully expect him to refuse to sign his part of written agreement. The only help ss have offered is a letter of support for him. I think the time given is unrealistic especially as they know he is not claiming any benefits nor is he working full time/perminant he does have some very casual on off work but at most this 2/3days a week.

  7. May I suggest that Wikivorce is an excellent free resource for litigants, and those seeking advice and support on all matters relating to divorce and separation and court proceedings?

  8. I have a final court hearing we have a supervision order and the social want a ico. It’s domestic abuse and father has alienated our child against me and the rest of family but social state in all reports that it’s mutual conflict and allegations (but the false allegations are all from him) they won’t change their reports and because of this were seeing a psychologist to assess if either of us can be a parent or if she should go to foster care.we with Medway Council

  9. Hi,
    A piece about secure accommodation notes that ‘The statute doesn’t say anything about a young person’s capacity to discharge THEMSELVES from s20 accommodation. It says specifically that a parent has the right to discharge them by objecting or removing, and it says specifically that post 16 a parent can’t do that if the young person wants to remain in s20. But it says nothing about a young person saying “I don’t want to be here, I’m checking out.” ‘

    What is the position of a YP on S 20 (3 or 5) who wants to remove/ discharge this? Have you a view, informed by case law or legal advice, on how the LA should best respond?



    • Well I think that a YP ought to be able to discharge themselves post 16, but the Court of Appeal took (for me) a weird tack in re w 2016, saying that a parent can put them IN s20 post 16 against their wishes. It was a secure accommodation case.

      By implication, the court of appeal say that the yp can’t discharge themselves, because otherwise they can walk out of S20 and hence secure.

      I disagree, but the law is now muddled.

      If a YP is not in secure, then they can leave the accommodation at any time and theres no S20 power to recover them. So I’d say in practice the YP can discharge themselves unless there’s a secure accommodation order.

      Though for leaving care provisions it is unclear whether they would still be lac even if not actually in the accommodation

  10. Pingback: Consent to adoption where the parent is themselves still a child | HOLLIE GREIG JUSTICE


  12. In Re DAM article, you say “I think there’s at least an argument to be had on that aspect. I have seen a Parker J case in which it was posited that this formulation applies to interim care orders as well, which I think goes too far”. Do you remember the name of the Park J case that you are referring to?

  13. In the Re K a child 2018 article the citation is correct but the Court has chosen Re S when listing on Balii – you might want to correct your article :o)

  14. Dear Suesspicious minds,

    I am wondering if you would be able to contact me at some point. I am studying MA Bioethics and Medical Law, for my dissertation I would like to write about best interests cases in family law and medical decisions in court. It is pending ethical approval, but I would like to start preparing myself for reading the legal cases. You seem to have so much information, I would love any help.

    My choice of dissertation title is from personal experience, sadly. Since we had social service involvement a few years ago (a bad situation turned ugly, baby removed, court went our way and case closed quickly) other women have shared their experiences, mostly shared with hatred and anger. Of the women who came needing support, the cases presented often went differently, I found i couldn’t help much, cases went on for months and years. I wanted to be better equipped to support them, hence studying the masters course. I felt this was an important topic for the dissertation (commencing in the summer term, so there’s no hurry), an opportunity to write a report about the care system from a bioethics perspective, and in particular how the patient (child)-professional-parent relationship might be affected when parents are involved with court proceedings.

  15. Paul Summerfield

    Like to ask you your thoughts on this, it concerns contempt of court and those privileged to view them and family court security

    Go back to Sarah Harman when she was found to be in contempt for sharing family court documents with her sister Harriet and the cabinet.

    Quite rightly Judge Mumby thought this was serious because all she needed to do was ask permission before did it and it was a breach of family court security
    So Harriet upset with this gives themselves MP’s Ministers of the government and the Police the Privilege.

    Now if someone went to an MP and gave them proof that police and cps were using family court documents as evidence without revealing the evidence or asking permission, of the court what should that MP and when its passed onto a Minster do?

    My view is that because they have the privilege they are bound by the rules of the family court and so the government must report this back to the family court as a security breach not hide it

    • Paul Summerfield

      Seem to me if the government does not do this it means there is no family court security

      • Paul Summerfield

        Ok I am just catching up on things here anyone now can read family court document.

        Guess that one was made because no one can afford legal aid what a bloody mess it all is. You cannot have a halfway house the courts need to be open

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