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Italian Mother: Statement by John Hemming

Unsurprisingly there is a lot of media interest in this case.  We do, however, need to remember that at the centre of this case is a mother and a baby (and the wider family including two siblings of the baby).

I will be driven as to what I say to the media about the case by the wishes of the mother concerned.  I have been discussing that with her today.  I have already had a short conversation with her on the telephone and we have agreed to speak further later today.  However, I do not expect to be able to make any statement beyond this statement until after 5pm today or even later.  I am on the train at the moment which makes it really difficult to have long phone calls.

In the mean time my team have been contacting the Italian Embassy to find out what their position is on this issue.   In previous cases the Polish, Czech and Slovak embassies have all been very supportive of their citizens facing unjust proceedings in the family division in England and Wales.  However, I do not know what the view of the Italian Embassy or the Italian authorities more generally will be.

When it comes to international public family law each country has a central authority.  In the UK the central authority is the Official Solicitor.   Italy also has a central authority.   In the case of the Slovak grandmother last year the Slovak Central authority applied to intervene in the appeal on behalf of the Slovak Republic.  It is, of course, open to the Italian Central Authority to do the same.

The case does highlight the rather selective approach that the Court of Protection has been taking to issuing public judgments.  There are many judgments that can be found on the bailii website, but this case does not appear.   There has to be an improvement so that proper accountability can occur of judicial processes.

In the mean time I have been referring to the case of the Cootes family.  This family who had to leave the UK and go to Spain to keep their daughter are now back in the UK.  I know they are willing to be interviewed about what happened with them.  My office will give out the grandfather's phone number to any journalists who ask for it.   One similarity between this case and that of the Italian mother is the local authority's resistance to the proposal that a baby should be cared within the wider family rather than placed for adoption.

In terms of the question as to how I will raise this in parliament.  There are lots and lots and lots of ways of raising something in parliament.  I will not decide precisely how to do this until after speak to the mother concerned.


Comments

It is quite clear that the mother should have been told about the hearing before the surgery as should the consulate and why and had representation for it and that her consulate should have been notified when she was sectioned and again when the child was taken.
Do not expect too much support from our authorities, specially on the embassy side. If they think their action will upset a foreign and powerful government, they will not move a finger.
me2 said…
what of the father?I have not seen anythig about him.If he exists and was not married to the mother nd the birth was registered by social workers, then did they put his name down, or did they choose not to and thereby deny the child its right to its father and his involvement in his childs life, perhaps as a fully functioning parent. Of course refusal to register the father denies him any right to act in the intereests of his child. Does he even know about his child.
Unknown said…
There needs to be a massive shake up in this country in regards to social services and the powers they have they seem to be able to do what they want when they want!! Having had to deal with them myself (no fault of my own) down to my partner at the time the way they dealt with my case was disgusting poor communication the lot no wonder a child can lie dead in a cot for 4 years and no one notices
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.

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