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A Local Authority v C 2013 (mother not allowed to resist)

A Local Authority v C 2013 is a case where a mother has not been told anything about the case, but essentially the police are authorised to remove the child at birth. The key about this is that there is no-one arguing the mother's side of the argument. The allegations made by the state are essentially something that are allowed to stand without any challenge.

If, as is asserted in this case, someone is to be considered incapable of looking after her child then why also do they encourage her to get pregnant and hold out to her the chance of looking after the child.

However, the nub of this is I would like to hear the mother's view on these issues as to what is true. suesspiciousminds has a good look at this and concludes:

    I have some problems with this judgment and decision (not as a matter of law, the Judge followed Re D and balanced things but as a matter of principle and human rights). The remedy here for the removal at birth is that the mother has the opportunity to challenge within a few hours that decision at the EPO hearing. But how realistic is that?
  • Firstly, she is going to be in a state of complete shock at the removal, which will be a total surprise to her. (I know that lawyers could look at the history and say “well, an EPO application was likely” but from mother’s perspective, if social workers have been working with her and never said that the baby would be removed, she might well think that she will keep the baby)
  • Secondly, she is also in the immediate aftermath of childbirth, a process which is fairly stressful, painful and somewhat discombobulating (that is a huge understatement) – not putting one in the best shape to get dressed and get on a bus to court
  • Thirdly, when she gets to Court, she is not entitled to instruct a solicitor to represent her, as she doesn’t have capacity
  • Fourthly, the Official Solicitor hasn’t been warned of the pending application so that they will be ready at court to represent her
  • So a vulnerable woman, with mental health problems, in the immediate aftermath of childbirth will be in Court, reeling from the shock of removal and representing herself at a contested removal hearing.
Forgive me if I don’t think that this is terribly fair.


Milata said…
In reality, the mother’s case is sealed notwithstanding the best endeavors of the family courts to show ‘that justice is being done’; most often a display for those involved ‘within’ the system due to the secret nature of the family courts. The actions in this case are laced with clear Article 6 ECHR issues most properly summed up by LJ Thorpe two years ago. LJ Thorpe noted that

“There is nothing more serious than a removal hearing, because the parents are so prejudiced in proceedings thereafter....Once you have lost a child, it is very difficult to get a child back.”

Referring to Judge Orrell, he said: “I know he is a very experienced judge and I know he has done wonderful work in Derby for many years. But there is a point where a judge's brisk conduct of business in his search for protection of a child is just not acceptable.”
Clearly unacceptable in this case as a ‘status quo’ has been created, which, when a chid is placed in care, is more often than not, upheld. This is the dismal reality of the family court system as families are churned through the system, coming out crushed on the other side.

Michelle Freedman, Barrister
Anonymous said…
I suspect there is an alternative view to this case..

A friend of mine who was pursuing a case against a hospital at the time was given a diagnosis of 'learning disability' This in spite of the fact that she had an honours degree in Finance. and had worked in a number of skilled positions She is now doing exceptionally well with her degree in law and and has intentions of becoming a barrister. This fact has provided me with some amusement.
Jerry said…
Michelle, that sounds like the "15 Mins" final hearing case,

I have commented to a certain degree on Suesspicious Minds regarding this as I was heavily involved in the Re.D and Munby J case back in 2009,

It Seems to me that some Authorities can convince a Judge that Black is White, without any further input from other relevant parties, when justice flows down these channels we are on the verge of loosing it all together, once one Authority is allowed to do this, then, from what was the Uber Exceptional in 2009 in Re. D, which I may add should have been the one and only time, as Munby J ruled, we are faced with this one now and while I do cringe at the idea and anyone reading these types of cases should have an unpalatable taste in their mouths, sadly, I can see these Ex Parte Cases being more and more frequent bouncing off the foundations of Re.D and Re A.

I hope I am wrong but hey as I write the Dfe are releasing an announcement that, people, prospective adopters can now adopt children simply "online" which is galling from the highest of orders

Parents can simply view and pick a child from the likes of Be MY

We have seen that those websites simply do not work, some Adoption agencies have had to resort to using free ads in the local rag, seriously with these cases, lack of accountability we may as well just send all children into the wild and fend for themselves, I would certain that this time next year more and more serious concerns have been raised, more and more cases will have hit the headlines, children will continue to be failed.

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