Re B-S (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146 (17 September 2013)

A landmark case that childcare practitioner’s need to read in full. The CA criticised the inadequate analysis by local authorities, guardians and judges of alternatives to adoption and the importance of taking both the pros and cons of adoption into account before making placement orders. The 26 week rule could and should be broken if necessary to allow this proper analysis to take place. The CA also gave firm guidance on the test to be applied to applications for leave to oppose the making of adoption orders. Disapproving of the phrase ‘exceptionally rare circumstances’ or ‘stringent’ in this context and emphasising that Section 47 (5) is intended to provide a parent in an appropriate case with a meaningful remedy.

IA (A Child) (Fact finding; Welfare; Single hearing; Experts reports) [2013] EWHC 2499 (Fam)

he Court gave judgment following a fact finding at which a Father was found responsible for non-accidental injuries to a child KA who had died of unknown causes. The welfare hearing was in respect of IA the parties second child. The court entirely exonerated the Mother of any failure to protect and made important points about the unrealistic expectations of professionals in respect of innocent and ignorant parents. The social worker and local authority involved were heavily criticised.

A (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1104 (06 September 2013)

The CA allowed a Father’s appeal against final orders providing for no direct contact and a s.91(14) order in a case characterised by systemic failure of the Family Justice system over the 11 years the case had been consistently before the court. The CA found that the Article 8 rights of the Father and child had been violated and that while the judgment appealed was not of itself wrong and thus necessary to set aside the concerns about the process was so strong that per CPR r 52 (11) (3) the outcome was unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity. The matter would be restored for an effective full rehearing, first being listed before Mr Justice Moylan to allocate the case to one senior Family Judge.