A. Michelle Freedman whose case was reported here. It is important to note that she is a family court barrister. I tabled an EDM about her case here which says:
That this House notes the withdrawal of care proceedings against Michelle Freedman by Barnet Council; further notes that Barnet Council has caused psychological harm to Michelle's elder daughter; further notes that had she not left UK jurisdiction both her daughters would have suffered further psychological harm; further notes that Ms Freedman is a family court barrister with over 10 years' experience and she left the jurisdiction because she was aware through her experience of similar cases that any local authority in this situation would be likely to invent allegations against her in order to win the case had she remained; further notes that legal proceedings were initiated because Ms Freedman had made a complaint against a social worker; further notes that Barnet's case included a criticism of Ms Freedman that she had done what she had been asked to do by Barnet Council which it then claimed put her daughter at risk and that the rules of estoppel should normally have prevented this being used against Ms Freedman; further notes that the Government intends to reduce the access of parents to truly independent assessments which will make it easier for local councils to win cases by making things up; recognises that if a barrister has so little confidence in the system that she leaves the jurisdiction to avoid being subjected to false allegations by a local authority there are serious difficulties in the system; and calls for parliamentary committees and the Government to review this issue.
The second is the Cootes family. Their case has been reported in lots of places. Here is a Daily Mail story.
It is important to remember that there have been a number of suicides (one a fortnight ago) as a result of the trauma of proceedings in the UK.
My advice is always to ensure that people take their paperwork and talk to the authorities whichever country they go to. Many countries already know how silly things are in England and are sympathetic. Also remember you need to be self financing and don't go to Ireland.
Emigrating when pregnant is not illegal. The situation is different if court proceedings have started.
There are lots of reasons why people don't get a fair trial. The secrecy has allowed a lot of bad practice to develop. However, the fundamental problem is with the nature of the evidence. The assessments and care plans are normally done by the local authority. Hence they are subject to the managerial policies of the local authority.
There is a european court of human rights case Lashin v Russia that explains why this is procedurally flawed.
The underlying question is whether Local Authorities are so perfect in their analyses of situations that parents should not expect any independent opinion. The system operates on the principle of the infallibility of local authorities. At the same time LAs have adoption targets to hit. This results in managers telling social workers not to return baby to their parents. And in one leicester case that I have documented firing a social worker because she recommended the return of a child against managerial dictat.
It is also worth reading This Birmingham Post Article
I must stress that this option is not one for everyone to consider. If court proceedings have started it is futile and counter productive. Also the finances are really difficult and need to be well thought through. However, it has been successful for a number of families. The Webster case (aka Hardingham) started with the family going to Ireland. Effectively it is form of forum shopping rather than evading justice.
Ireland is now a bad place to go as so many people went there that the authorities now push people back to England.
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