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Care cases: are they taking less time to get through court? - Full Fact

Care cases: are they taking less time to get through court? - Full Fact | Children In Law | Scoop.it
BBC NewsCare cases: are they taking less time to get through court?
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Walks in the Wasteland: The Experience of Children in Divorce and Separation –

Walks in the Wasteland: The Experience of Children in Divorce and Separation – | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Just like all psychotherapists, what I do is inspired by my own life.   It is therefore no accident that I work with children who experience the divorce and separation of their parents.  My earliest memories are of my young cousin, traumatised from the divorce of his parents, having to be peeled away from his…
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Judge slams local authority for 'inexcusable' failure to disclose information in child refugee accommodation case

Judge slams local authority for 'inexcusable' failure to disclose information in child refugee accommodation case | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Brent council's neglect of 'duty of candour' could have left judicial review without essential material, judgment concludes
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Left-behind parents: children to go home to Canada

Left-behind parents: children to go home to Canada | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Left-behind parents: John Bolch discusses the case of a mother who has had her appeal to stop her children from returning to Canada dismissed at the Court of Appeal
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Family Law Week: S & H-S (Children): Re [2018] EWCA Civ 1282

Family Law Week: S & H-S (Children): Re [2018] EWCA Civ 1282 | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Home > Judgments S & H-S (Children): Re [2018] EWCA Civ 1282 Case summary coming soon Case No: B4/2018/0096/CCFMF Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWCA Civ 1282 IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION) ON APPEAL FROM LEEDS FAMILY COURT HHJ LYNCH LS1700208 Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London, WC2A 2LL Date: 06/06/2018 Before: LORD JUSTICE MCFARLANE LORD JUSTICE LINDBLOM - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Between: S & H-S (CHILDREN)  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Alex Taylor and Giorgia Sessi (instructed by Ison Harrison Solicitors) for the Appellant (mother) Gillian Irving QC and Zimran Samuel (instructed by Kirklees Council) for the Respondent Joanne Astbury for the Respondent (children) Hearing dates : Thursday 19th April - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Judgment LORD JUSTICE MCFARLANE: 1. This appeal relates to a care order made on 21 December 2017 by Her Honour Judge Lynch with respect to a young girl who was then aged 2 ¾ years. The narrow, but plainly important, issue in the appeal solely relates to the judge's finding that the threshold criteria in Children Act 1989 [CA 1989], s 31 were satisfied with respect to L. 2. The background to the proceedings is complicated firstly by the fact that L is one of a family of 3 children, with 2 older siblings aged 9 and 6 years at the time of the hearing and, secondly, by the fact that these proceedings followed earlier care proceedings issued in May 2015 and concluded in July 2016. 3. The Appellant is the children's mother and the focus of the appeal is upon her relationship with the children, and particularly L, who is the sole subject of the appeal proceedings. Following her birth L lived with her two parents and the elder two children for some two months prior to being removed from her parents' care at that stage following discovery that she had sustained a fracture to her left femur. By the direction of the court, she was returned to her mother's sole care in about March 2016 and she remained there, subsequently subject to a supervision order made at the conclusion of the first care proceedings in July 2016, until her removal in March 2017 when the second set of care proceedings was instituted as a result of allegations that one or both of the two older children had been assaulted by their father. 4. Finally, by way of introduction to the issue under appeal, HHJ Lynch, who was the judge with respect to both sets of care proceedings, found the CA 1989, s 31 threshold criteria satisfied with respect to the mother's care of L on the basis that L was suffering, and was likely to suffer, significant emotional harm. 2016 Care Proceedings: Findings 5. In the course of the 2015/2016 care proceedings the judge made factual findings under the following three headings: i) That the two older children had suffered emotional harm arising out of the significant domestic violence in the relationship between their parents (i.e their father, not the mother's subsequent partner who is the father of L); ii) L had suffered significant physical harm when she sustained a fractured femur, but this fracture was caused accidentally by her father. The father, nevertheless, failed to obtain prompt medical treatment thereby exposing the child unnecessarily to prolonged pain and distress and failing to meet her emotional needs; iii) All three children had suffered significant harm through neglect of their emotional and developmental needs, at times, although not exclusively, arising out of the drug use of the mother and L's father. The older children had been harmed by inconsistent school and nursery attendance. The mother's use of drugs when under stress put the children at risk of significant harm and they were likely to suffer significant harm of that nature in the future. 6. At the conclusion of the 2016 proceedings, the two older children went to live with their father and L continued to live, alone, with her mother under a supervision order. She was also regarded as "a child in need", by the local authority and a range of modest support services were provided. The 2017 Proceedings 7. The 2017 proceedings were commenced following allegations made by the mother that the two older children had reported being physically assaulted by their father, with whom they were living. The proceedings commenced on the 9 March 2017 and that date, therefore, is the relevant date for the consideration for the threshold criteria with respect to all three children, and particularly L. 8. Partly on the basis of the mother's allegations and partly on the basis that these were supported, in part, by what had been said by the two older children, the local authority prosecuted findings of fact with respect to physical harm against their father. In addition, allegations of emotional harm to all three children were made. 9. The hearing before Judge Lynch took place over the course of three weeks in December 2017. The Judge issued a reserved judgment which was circulated to the parties ready for handing down on the 21st December. 10. A substantial part of the judgment, 24 of the 56 pages, is taken up with the judge's review of the evidence relating to the allegations of physical harm. The judge's ultimate conclusion was that the older children's father had chastised them by slapping them on their bottoms and legs, but that this did not cause them any injury and that such bruising that may have been seen on them was likely to have been caused accidentally in play or by the children fighting with each other. The father's discipline did not constitute over-chastisement. On that basis, therefore, the judge declined to make any threshold findings against the father. 11. In the course of her evaluation the judge concluded that the mother held the strong view that these two children should be back in her care and that she had been unable to hide those views from the children when she spent time with them. Whilst the judge found that the mother had not deliberately caused the children to lie or exaggerate, her reaction to their complaints will have encouraged them to speak negatively of their father. Further, the judge expressly found that the mother had, herself, deliberately lied in order to bolster the accounts given by the children. 12. The remainder of the judgment focussed upon the local authority's assertion that each of the three children was being caused significant emotional harm as a result of the mother's emotional personality. 13. Although none of the three categories of finding made in the 2015/6 proceedings related directly to the mother's personality, the court in those earlier proceedings had had evidence of the mother's emotional functioning from a clinical psychologist who had described the mother (on the judge's description) as "an emotionally reactive person, crying frequently with relatively little provocation, and that she presented all information with a positive bias". She was said to be prone to give "highly reactive emotional responses" and was at times "cognitively dysregulated". The judge held that this accorded with her own, lay, description of the mother as "a drama queen". 14. In the closing stages of a judgment given on 11 November 2015, although not directly relevant to the findings of fact relating to the threshold criteria, the judge went on to draw conclusions on the evidence of the mother's psychological health that had been presented to the court by that stage and, of course, from the judge's direct exposure to the mother during the hearing. At paragraph 122 the judge said this: "I then have the benefit of the assessment by (clinical psychologist). Her conclusion from her meeting with the mother was that she had a cluster of difficulties that were at best conceptualised as personality disorder. She said that, in summary, personality disordered individuals demonstrate rigid patterns of functioning and difficulty in learning from experience that tend to lead them to make the same mistakes time and time again. She spoke of one feature of a personality disordered individual being a tenacious stability under conditions of subjective stress, making them susceptible to events which reactivate the past and make them vulnerable to new difficulties and disruptions." 15. The judge then records that the psychologist's description fits the judge's own impression of the mother as being "someone with highly reactive emotional responses, having difficulties with episodic depression, anxiety and irritability, who experienced relationships in a way which may be chaotic, intense and marked with difficulties, but then found it extremely hard to let go of relationships." 16. Having cautioned herself that, as the mother was pregnant at the time of the assessment and as the clinical psychologist was not medically qualified, those factors may mean that the court would not rely upon a formal diagnosis of "personality disorder", the judge went on to hold that that diagnosis fitted entirely with the judge's own impression of the mother during the case. She said "it also fits with so much other information available to me from the papers and from my impression of the mother in the witness box". Behavioural therapy had been identified as a possible means of assistance to the mother, but, the judge held, to be effective this would require a significant amount of work on her part. 17. In the final judgment in the 2015/6 proceedings, given on 4 July 2016, the judge returned to the topic of the mother's emotional health and stated "the mother's emotional and psychological health has always been at the forefront of this case." Then, at paragraph 93, she revised her earlier conclusion in the following terms: "Having now had the benefit of seeing (mother) more than six months on from the last hearing and at a time when she is not pregnant, I am satisfied that (clinical psychologist's) description of her is accurate. So much of what is in her report now fits with my impression of the mother." 18. In concluding that the two older children should live with the father, rather than their mother, the judge explained her conclusion on the basis of the doubts that she had "about the mother's ability to meet their needs and the fact is that her caring for three children as a sole parent, with the psychological difficulties we know she has, is untested." 19. In the present round of proceedings, the court had the benefit of an independent expert opinion from a different clinical psychologist, Dr Hall. Dr Hall conducted an in-depth interview with the mother and observed one contact between the mother and all three children. Her report contains a substantial section summarising what is said to be a considerable and growing body of research indicating the importance at all levels of "the relationship environment" upon a child's emotional and, significantly, neurological development. In summary she stated: "Attachment in children is the most fundamental process that is essential for the child's development and has been defined as the "deep and enduring connection established between a child and care giver in the first several years of life. It profoundly influences every component of the human condition - mind, body, emotions, relationships and values. Attachment is a physiological, emotional, cognitive and social phenomenon" (Levy and Orlans, 1998). It is created between care giver and child through a process of attunement and mutual reciprocity." 20. Dr Hall then described the benefits of secure attachment and made reference to recent advances in neuroscience indicating the impact on the development of a baby's brain as a result of the attachment process. Later she stated: "Without a secure attachment, the child is at risk of serious problems throughout its development. Attachments are categorised as secure, insecure (avoidant and preoccupied) and disorganised attachments. Parent-child interaction which is either frightened or frightening or both has been repeatedly shown to be associated with the development of disorganised attachment in children. Disorganised attachment in childhood is strongly associated with the development of a wide range of psychopathological difficulties in childhood and adulthood." 21. Dr Hall's overall assessment of the mother identified an inability to control her emotional reactions in the course of her ordinary life. She oscillates between a state of hyper-arousal (over emotionally reactive, hyper-vigilant, hyper-defensive, obsessive cognitive processing), or, at the other end of the scale, hypo-arousal (parasympathetic responses, flat effect, numb, cognitively dissociated, collapsed, disabled defensive responses). Dr Hall considered that the mother's lack of control of her emotional reactions affected all her relationships. She had poor interpersonal boundaries, probably resulting from her own adverse experiences as a child. 22. As a psychologist, Dr Hall, understandably, held back from offering a psychiatric diagnosis but her report was in tune with the earlier conclusions drawn by the psychologist in the previous proceedings. She agreed that the mother had significant borderline personality traits and that "she shows difficulties with attachment, poor impulse control and a level of emotional reactivity which prevents her from learning from situations and showing the level of maturity that she believes she possesses." 23. In the course of her oral evidence Dr Hall stated with regard to the children's attachment to their mother that it was "at very best" insecure. The level of attachment was, she considered, "on the boundary of insecure and disorganised." The part of the questioning, on behalf of the older children is of relevance: "Q And the continuation of a relationship which has a damaged attachment style would be very damaging for these children, would it not? A  Yes, there is a lot of evidence showing that children who have more disorganised styles of attachment with a parent, if they stay there, their future mental health, relationships, social interactions, everything, is negatively effected; learning , schooling. You name it, it is…there is a lot of evidence. Q  So to return these children to the care of their mother with that attachment style would be very damaging to these children, would it not? A  Without any change in the mother, yes. Q  And attachment styles develop over time? A  They develop in reaction to the environment in which the child…the emotional environment, the caring environment in which they are brought up and they are a response for what is available to the children in terms of how much consistency and stability the parent gives. The children learn trust through repetition and consistency and if these things are not available to the child, they do not have anyway of attaching to that person even though they have to because that person is their carer. So it is a dilemma for children in that situation. Q  So what conclusions can you draw from your considerable expertise about the parenting these children have been afforded by their mother such that their attachment to her is how you have described it? A  Well it, tells a story. It tells me that the mother has not been able to provide the necessary consistency to these children in terms of physical care, emotional care, emotional availability; all aspects of parents. There maybe some good bits but overall it is not been good enough for the children to feel secure in that situation." The Judge's Judgment 24. The first matter of note with respect to the judge's judgment dated 21 December 2017 is that, although she records the findings of fact made by her in 2015 relating directly to the threshold criteria, she does not make reference to her supplemental finding as to the mother's emotional and mental well being based upon the clinical psychologist's report. This is a perplexing omission given the importance that that element of the case was to play in the findings that the judge went on to make in 2017. 25. In the course of the substantial section of the judgment dealing with the potential for emotional harm caused to the three children as a result of the mother's personality, the judge gave a summary of the evidence provided by Dr Hall. The judge then moved on to set out her conclusions on emotional harm which, as they are of central importance to this appeal, I will set out in full: "106. I acknowledge that Dr Hall witnessed the children with their mother together at a time when she was pregnant and I accept Dr Mir's evidence that pregnancy was one of the factors which would have impacted on the mother's presentation, along with many other stresses she has experienced. I do not accept though that that is relevant to an assessment of attachment which looks not just at the mother's side of things but how the children respond to her. The description of the contact which Dr Hall observed is mirrored in contacts seen by Sue Bach (independent social worker) and in many of the contact notes filed in these proceedings, at times when the mother was pregnant and when she was not. Dr Hall is a well respected psychologist identified as being appropriate to assess the myriad issues in this case and I accept her assessment in respect of attachment. Mr Taylor challenged this in his submissions, observing she had made no mention of resilience, but her evidence on attachment is clear and she did not resile from it. Many professionals have observed L being clingy to her mother, again at many different times in the proceedings. Attachments build up over the life of a child and demonstrate the child's response to parenting. It is my view that the difficulties seen in the children by Dr Hall, mirrored in observations of contact and of other professionals, are evidence of emotional harm to the children resulting from the parenting they have received from their mother. 107. The mother's emotional presentation has been an issue since the end of the last proceedings. The mother says she has been under immense stress from many sources during the proceedings, including the pressure of the proceedings themselves and the removal of her children, learning that the local authority put her in the pool of perpetrators in having injured R and S, and being pregnant and then miscarriage to name but a few. Mr Taylor submits on the mother's behalf that that means I cannot rely on her behaviour during proceedings to evidence significant harm as at the date of threshold. I look back to the mother's behaviour since the last proceedings and am satisfied that her emotional difficulties have been evident throughout. She has been emotional in her dealings with social workers and with her community care worker, with the school, with refuge workers, even hospital staff in December 2016. This has often been in front of the children, although (mother) struggled to recall or accept that. Looking at the contact notes, at the contacts witnessed by Sue Bach and Liz Hall, these show only too clearly how the mother behaves in front of the children. Workers who have tried to assist her have come up against the fact that she has been in crisis and has been unable to address issues. This is referenced in the evidence of the health visitor and records of conversation with the mother's CPN. The evidence is littered with references to difficult discussions with the mother when she has been distressed and unable to contain her emotions in front of the children. Even if I agreed with Mr Taylor that I had to disregard everything since the proceedings began when looking at the risk of harm to the children, I am satisfied the evidence from the end of the last proceedings to the start of these justifies a finding relating to emotional harm caused by their mother. I acknowledge she has had to deal with matters she has found stressful and I acknowledge she has attempted to deal with some of these, although it seems to me often with rather an expectation others would resolve the difficulties for her. However, at least some of the difficulties she encountered prior to these proceedings are likely to be present in future, including the difficulties of dealing with the fathers and their families, quite possible getting pregnant again, and I do not imagine her emotional presentation is going to improve dramatically. 108. Looking at whether threshold was met at the time at proceedings were commenced, I acknowledge that (the social worker) was of the view that he would not have begun the PLO process if R and S had not had bruising, (another social worker) did not think during her involvement it was required, and Sue Bach was not saying the local authority should have begun the PLO process. However, that does not mean that threshold was not met when one stands back and looks at the evidence…We are in proceedings in respect of all three children and the question for me is whether threshold was met at the time proceedings commenced and then what is the right plan from each of the children now. 109. The other factor relevant to whether the children have suffered significant harm as a result of the mother's emotional presentation and/or would be likely to do so in the future stem from what I have said in respect of the allegations of harm caused to the children by (the father). The mother's emotional difficulties, as I have said earlier, impacted on her response to R and S being physically chastised and her subsequent dishonest evidence seeking to bolster her case against him. Her actions contributed to all three children being removed from the care of their parents, removal which would undoubtedly have affected each of the children. Her personality difficulties and her view of both fathers and their families, evident very acutely in her heightened allegations against DD, cause me to think she will continue to have anxieties about the care of her children and therefore potentially to undermine any placement of children away from her care, a view shared by professionals including Sue Bach. 110. I therefore find that (the mother) has significant borderline emotionally unstable personality traits and these are played out in her emotional, cognitive and behavioural functioning. Those traits are life long and can be more intense at times of stress. (The mother) shows difficulties with attachment, poor impulse control and a level of reactivity. She has not consistently accessed appropriate treatment and therefore her difficulties have continued to impact on her emotional stability and her presentation is such that the children have suffered significant emotional harm. Change is likely to be a long term prospect and will require specialist therapy alongside appropriate medication." 26. In the welfare section of the judgment the following appears: "Although at the present time the mother does not seek to have L in her care, I must be clear that I am not making a short-term decision in relation to L. The mother's emotional difficulties are such that she will not be able to meet her daughter's needs, in the same way that she cannot meet R and S's, unless and until she can make changes in her emotional functioning because that impacts on her children. I am satisfied that in her mother's care L would be at risk of significant emotional harm in the future." This passage is of note as it contains the only finding of a risk of future significant harm that appears in the 2017 judgment. 27. Finally, in a separate box of text on the last page of the 21 December judgment the following appears: "THRESHOLD FINDINGS (Mother) has significant borderline emotionally unstable personality traits and these are played out in her emotional, cognitive and behavioural functioning. Those traits are life-long and can be more intense at times of stress. (Mother) showed difficulties with attachment, poor impulse control and a level of reactivity. She has not consistently accessed appropriate treatment and therefore her difficulties have continued to impact on her emotional stability and her presentation is such that the children have suffered from significant emotional harm. Change is likely to be a long-term prospect and will require specialist therapy alongside appropriate medication." 28. The judge had circulated a draft of her judgment prior to handing it down on 21 December. As a result, further submissions were made by Mr Alex Taylor, counsel for the mother before the judge as, indeed, he is before this court. At Mr Taylor's invitation the judge provided a supplemental judgment to be read in conjunction with the main judgment which, in part, focussed on the question of emotional harm to the child L as follows: "The particular element of the original judgment Mr Taylor particularly wishes me to revisit is the aspect relating to emotional harm caused or likely to be caused to L. Overall Mr Taylor queries whether the court has considered the question of the s.31(2) threshold with reference to L individually. My response to that is that it was considered separately but is nonetheless linked with the other children, not least given my findings about the mother's lack of honesty regarding the bruises those children had. Findings of emotional harm were relevant [to] all three children and hence were addressed in the same section; this does not mean I had not considered the question of threshold for each child separately." 29. After making reference to the case of Re B [2013] UKSC 33 the judge continued: "Turning then to L's situation, I am satisfied I applied the law as set out in Re B when considering if threshold was crossed for L when looking at the likelihood of future harm. I should first reiterate though that I am satisfied that threshold has been crossed firstly because she has already suffered emotional harm, along with the other children. Mr Taylor asks: "what does the judgment mean by "emotional harm"?" Emotional harm means different things in different contexts but in terms of harm already suffered by the children the emotional harm is in the lack of a secure attachment of the mother. This is addressed in the main judgment in paragraphs 105 and 106. The evidence of Dr Hall, the psychologist, was of a lack of a secure attachment between the children and their mother. I am satisfied that lack of a secure attachment can constitute emotional harm and is the consequence of parenting over a significant period of time, so here both during the proceedings and before. The fact that Dr Hall observed this during the proceedings does not mean the attachment difficulties had resulted only from care given since proceedings began, as addressed in paragraph 106." The judge then went on to give further detail in support of her conclusions before turning to the alternative limb in the threshold criteria relating to the likelihood of future harm: "Looking at likelihood of emotional harm, I was satisfied on the evidence both before and during proceedings of the mother's emotional difficulties and that these were likely to continue to impact on her children including L." 30. Finally, it is relevant to note that the court order dated 21 December simply states that all three children are to be placed in the care of the local authority prior to setting out four further short supplemental directions which are of no relevance to this appeal. The order does not refer to or record the court's findings on the threshold criteria. The Mother's Appeal 31. The mother's grounds for appeal represent a root and branch challenge to the judge's conclusion with respect to the threshold criteria relating to the child L. In summary, the following points are made: a) The proceedings were commenced in response to allegations of physical harm to the older two children perpetrated by their father. Those allegations were, in the event, not found proved in the terms of the threshold. The stress of the proceedings, however, triggered a marked deterioration in the mother's mental well-being to the extent that, by the end of the proceedings, she conceded that she could not at that time provide a home for any of the children. The judge is criticised for failing to distinguish between the mother's presentation and her parenting prior to the relevant threshold date of 9th March 2015, and the compromised state that she descended into thereafter during the proceedings. b) Evidence from social workers, community support workers and health visitors prior to 9 March, insofar as it mentioned the mother and L, was positive and gave no cause for concern. c) It was conceded by the local authority that no social worker was contemplating issuing care proceedings with respect to the mother's care of the children as at 9 March 2017. d) The judge wrongly equated a perceived lack of attachment between the mother and L with the establishment of "significant harm". e) A failure to follow the guidance given by the Supreme Court in Re B to the effect that it is necessary for a judge to identify a precisely as possible the nature of the harm that L was suffering or likely to suffer as at 9 March 2017. 32. On 31 January 2018 I granted permission to appeal on the basis that there was arguably a lack of focus in the judgment on the need to establish significant harm (or likely significant harm) to the individual child and that "simply identifying deficits in the mother's personality is unlikely to be sufficient to meet the legal requirements of s 31." 33. Before this court Mr Taylor has advanced the mother's case with force and clarity both in his skeleton argument and at the oral hearing. He seeks to establish five basic submissions: i) The lack of clear and bright reasoning within the judgment falls so far short of what is required so as to amount to an unfair process. ii) The judgment confuses evidence as to the state of affairs prior to 9 March with evidence of what consequently occurred as a result of the mother's mental collapse during the proceedings. iii) The necessary process of evaluation of the threshold criteria, as required by Re B, has not been undertaken. iv) The findings made by the judge as to the mother's character are insufficient of themselves to support a finding on the threshold criteria. v) Various findings made by the judge with respect to other aspects of the case are insufficient to support a finding of threshold with respect to L. 34. The appeal is opposed by the local authority and the children's guardian. L's father takes a neutral stance. 35. Looking at the mother's appeal in more detail, it is, unfortunately, correct that both the judgment and the court order lack clarity with respect to the judge's findings as to threshold relating to L. The following points are, in my view, established in the appellant's favour: a) The judgment makes no reference to the judge's previous findings as to the mother's psychological well being set out in her judgments of 11 November 2015 and 4 July 2016. b) The judge's finding (paragraph 106) that "the attachment difficulties seen in the children…are evidence of emotional harm" does not expressly amount to a finding of "significant" harm as required by s 31. c) Paragraph 107, which is lengthy, includes reference to material arising both prior to 9 March and, thereafter, during the proceedings. Again, the finding in that paragraph relates to "emotional harm" and not "significant harm". d) Although the phrase "significant harm" appears in paragraph 109, the judge there refers to "the other factor relevant to whether the children have suffered significant harm as a result of the mother's presentation" and describes the emotional impact on the children of the mother raising the allegations of physical chastisement which, in turn, led to the institution of proceedings. Paragraph 109 does not make a finding that the children did suffer "significant harm" in this respect. The finding is that the mother's past behaviour "cause(s) me to think she will continue to have anxieties about the care of her children and therefore potentially undermine any placement of the children away from her care". e) Paragraph 110 does include a finding that the mother's emotional stability and her presentation are such that "the children have suffered from significant emotional harm". The finding is not, in that paragraph, tied to the period prior to 9 March and there is no finding with respect to likely future significant harm. f) As Miss Gillian Irving QC and Mr Zimran Samuel for the local authority before this court who did not appear below, reluctantly concede, the judge's statement of "threshold findings" posted at the end of the judgment cannot, as a matter of law, be said to satisfy the requirements of s 31. The paragraph is confined to a summary of the judge's findings as to the mother's mental well being both now and in the future. The paragraph does not contain any explanation for the judge's finding that as a result of the mother's condition the children have suffered significant harm. g) The court order, which simply records the making of care orders, fails to include any recital as to the court's findings with respect to the threshold criteria. 36. Despite the concession that the local authority was bound to make as to the formulation of the judge's "threshold findings", Miss Irving submits that there is sufficient within the judgment, and the judge's findings as to the validity of Dr Hall's evidence, to make it clear that the court accepted that the mother's life-long personality traits and presentation were causing each of the children significant harm as at 9 March 2017 and were likely to cause significant harm in the future. 37. Miss Astbury, representing the children's guardian before this court, as she did before the Judge, effectively adopts the local authority's submissions. 38. What I have said thus far encompasses Mr Taylor's first two points. The third point relates to Re B in which the judgments of the Supreme Court endorse the practice guidance contained in the judgment of Baroness Hale. Mr Taylor relies upon the totality of what is said between paragraphs 177 and 193, but principally upon the following which appears in paragraph 193: "193. I agree entirely that it is the statute and the statute alone that the courts have to apply, and that judicial explanation or expansion is at best an imperfect guide. I agree also that parents, children and families are so infinitely various that the law must be flexible enough to cater for frailties as yet unimagined even by the most experienced family judge. Nevertheless, where the threshold is in dispute, courts might find it helpful to bear the following in mind: (1) The court's task is not to improve on nature or even to secure that every child has a happy and fulfilled life, but to be satisfied that the statutory threshold has been crossed. (2) When deciding whether the threshold is crossed the court should identify, as precisely as possible, the nature of the harm which the child is suffering or is likely to suffer. This is particularly important where the child has not yet suffered any, or any significant, harm and where the harm which is feared is the impairment of intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. (3) Significant harm is harm which is "considerable, noteworthy or important". The court should identify why and in what respects the harm is significant. Again, this may be particularly important where the harm in question is the impairment of intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development which has not yet happened.    (4) The harm has to be attributable to a lack, or likely lack, of reasonable parental care, not simply to the characters and personalities of both the child and her parents. So once again, the court should identify the respects in which parental care is falling, or is likely to fall, short of what it would be reasonable to expect.  (5) Finally, where harm has not yet been suffered, the court must consider the degree of likelihood that it will be suffered in the future. This will entail considering the degree of likelihood that the parents' future behaviour will amount to a lack of reasonable parental care. It will also entail considering the relationship between the significance of the harmed feared and the likelihood that it will occur. Simply to state that there is a "risk" is not enough. The court has to be satisfied, by relevant and sufficient evidence, that the harm is likely: see In re J [2013] 2 WLR 649." 39. For the reasons which I have already rehearsed in more detail with respect to his first two points, Mr Taylor submits that the judge's analysis wholly fails to deliver the degree of particularity and precision described by Baroness Hale in her judgment. 40.  So far as Mr Taylor's fourth point is concerned, if the judge's findings on threshold are to be taken as being set out in the paragraph at the end of the judgment, then, as conceded by the local authority, simply to identify a deficit in the mother's emotional and mental wellbeing is indeed insufficient, of itself, to establish that the children were suffering or were likely to suffer significant harm as a result. 41. Mr Taylor's fifth and final point is, in reality, an attempt to neutralise part of Miss Irving's presentation of the local authority's response which he knew was to be delivered. Miss Irving had extracted some 14 specific findings made by the judge in the course of her judgment and had included them in a new "threshold" document which, she argued, could now properly stand as a record of the judge's findings on threshold with respect to L. 42. For my part, it is simply not possible for this court to contemplate directing that Miss Irving's document should now replace the threshold findings recorded by the judge in her judgment. I hold that view for two separate reasons. Firstly, and this is not unimportant, the document was produced for the first time at the oral hearing having been prepared by counsel overnight. As it is a submission that the care order should now be upheld for reasons that are either in addition to, or replace, those stated by the judge, the local authority's case on this point should have been set out in a Respondent's Notice filed in due time in order to provide the appellant and this court with sufficient notice of the point. It would, simply, be procedurally unfair for this court now to entertain the local authority's submissions in that regard. 43. Secondly, whilst the specific findings relied upon, for example the mother's manipulation of the older children in order to generate false allegations against their father, might have been used by the judge to support a threshold finding, the judge, who had been steeped in the detail of that aspect of the case forming, as it did, a major aspect of the trial before her, chose not to take that course. The judge made no finding that the children were suffering significant harm as a result of the various matters which are now pleaded. It seems to me, therefore, notwithstanding any issues of procedural fairness, it would simply be exorbitant for this court now to re-determine the threshold on a wholly different basis from that found by the judge. Discussion 44. In contrast to the position that applied when granting permission to appeal, this court now has the benefit of the judge's judgments given in 2014 and 2015, Dr Hall's very detailed report and the transcript of her evidence. That material plainly and sadly establishes that the mother's emotional and psychological vulnerability has been evident throughout the period from 2014 onwards. Dr Hall's evidence, which the judge accepted, was that the mother's difficulties were deep-seated and arose as a result of the impact of her own childhood. On the judge's findings in 2014, 2015, and now in 2017, the mother's emotional difficulties are "life long" and, whilst possibly amenable to therapy, such therapy would represent a substantial piece of work. 45. Although the judge makes no reference to the findings that she made in 2014 and 2015, she was the judge who had made those findings, she records that Dr Hall agreed with the basic premise advanced by the clinical psychologist in the earlier proceedings, and the judge, in turn, was impressed with Dr Hall's evidence and adopted her conclusions. 46. As the extracts that I have set out from Dr Hall's written and oral evidence demonstrate, the attachment that these children, including L, had with their mother was compromised to a significant degree so that it was on the borderline of being characterised as disordered. Dr Hall's opinion was that without secure attachment the children would suffer significant detriment, not only to their emotional and psychological functioning, but to the very development of their brain during infancy. 47. The attachment, or lack of it, formed between L and her mother must relate to the period when L was in her mother's care prior to 9 March 2017. It arose from core intrinsic elements in the mother's psychological makeup, rather than arising from the recent collapse in the mother's mental health. Dr Hall's description of the mother being unable to control her emotional reaction to relationships and events with unpredictable and regular oscillation between the extremes of hyper-arousal and hypo-arousal, accords entirely, as she herself said it did, with the mother's presentation as recorded by the previous expert in 2014. 48. It is clear that the evidence upon which the judge relied, and her findings, relate to the mother's long-standing condition and its impact on the children, rather than any deterioration that occurred during the proceedings. 49. This material amply supports a finding that L was suffering significant emotional harm as at 9 March 2017 and would be likely to suffer significant emotional harm in the future as a result of the care provided by her mother were she to return to the mother's home. Although, for the reasons that I have given, the judge's judgment lacks precision and clarity, there is in my view, sufficient in paragraphs 106 to 110 of the judgment to identify the threshold findings made by the judge in this regard. 50. At paragraph 106 the judge expressly accepted Dr Hall's assessment with respect to attachment. She holds that the attachment difficulties seen in the children by Dr Hall are evidence of emotional harm resulting from the mother's parenting. At paragraph 107, the judge, as she was able to do having been the judge in the previous proceedings, held that the mother's emotional presentation and behaviour had been evident throughout the period prior to the issue of the 2017 proceedings and that the children had suffered emotional harm during that period. 51. Although the phrase "significant emotional harm" is not used in paragraphs 106 and 107, HHJ Lynch, as a specialist family judge, will have been well familiar with the need to establish "significant harm" within the context of s 31. As her conclusion in paragraph 110 demonstrates, she did indeed find, on the basis of the matters set out in the previous paragraphs, that " the children have suffered from significant emotional harm" and, as I have demonstrated, that this related to the period prior to 9 March. Further, so far as L is concerned, paragraph 152, although appearing in the welfare section of the judgment, does include a finding that L would be at risk of significant emotional harm were she to return to her mother's care. 52. Set against the comprehensive expert evaluation provided by Dr Hall, the positive records of L's functioning made by the health visitor and others, and, indeed, the fact that social workers were not considering care proceedings as a result of the mother's care of the children, can only be of minimal weight. Whilst the judge did not expressly refer to the positive records of those visiting the family, she did engage with the bigger point relating to the social worker's view of the mother prior to 9 March at paragraph 108. For the reasons given by the judge in that paragraph, she was entitled to hold that the threshold criteria were met at the conclusion of a three week trial informed, as it was, by the credible expert opinion of a clinical psychologist. 53. In the circumstances, whilst accepting, as I do, the validity of the criticisms that Mr Taylor makes as to the lack of clarity and focus in the judge's analysis, Dr Hall's evidence and the judge's previous findings as to the mother's behaviour provided a very solid basis for finding the threshold established and it is plain that the judge adopted that analysis, which was in part based upon her own findings made two years earlier, in concluding that the threshold was crossed with respect to L in this case. 54. For the reasons I have given, I would, therefore, dismiss this appeal and uphold the judge's finding that the threshold criteria in CA 1989 s 31 was established as at 9 March 2017 with respect to L as a result of the care given by her mother on the basis that, at that date, L was suffering significant emotional harm and was likely to suffer significant emotional harm. Lessons for the Future? 55. Before leaving this case, and with Lady Hale's more detailed judgment in Re B in mind, I hope it is helpful to make the following observations as to how the difficulties that have led to this appeal could have been avoided in practice. 56. In the course of a necessarily long judgment covering a range of issues and a substantial body of evidence, where the threshold criteria are in issue, it is good practice to distil the findings that may have been made in previous paragraphs into one or two short and carefully structured paragraphs which spell out the court's finding on threshold identifying whether the finding is that the child 'is suffering' and/or 'is likely to suffer' significant harm, specifying the category of harm and the basic finding(s) as to causation. 57. When making a finding of harm, it is important to identify whether the finding is of 'significant harm' or simply 'harm'. 58. A finding that the child 'has suffered significant harm' is not a relevant finding for s 31, which looks to the 'relevant date' and the need to determine whether the child 'is suffering' or 'is likely to suffer' significant harm. 59. Where findings have been made in previous proceedings, either before the same judge or a different tribunal, a judgment in subsequent proceedings should make reference to any relevant earlier findings and identify which, if any, are specifically relied upon in support of a finding that the threshold criteria are satisfied in the later proceedings as at the 'relevant date'. 60. At the conclusion of the hearing, after judgment has been given, there is a duty on counsel for the local authority and for the child, together with the judge, to ensure that any findings as to the threshold criteria are sufficiently clear. 61. The court order that records the making of a care order should include within it, or have annexed to it, a clear statement of the basis upon which the s 31 threshold criteria have been established. In the present case, during the oral appeal hearing, counsel for the guardian explained that, following the judgment, she had submitted a detailed draft order to the court by email for the judge's approval. We were shown the draft which, whilst in need of fine tuning, does provide a template account of the court's threshold findings. It is most unfortunate that counsel's email, which may not have been seen by the judge, did not result in further consideration of the form of the order and statement of threshold findings. Had it done so, the need for the present appeal may not have arisen. Lord Justice Lindblom: 62. I agree
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Transparency Refresher: dos and don’ts and things every family lawyer needs to be aware of

Transparency Refresher: dos and don’ts and things every family lawyer needs to be aware of | Children In Law | Scoop.it
This July, St John’s Chambers’ Family Team invite you to a free training session on transparency, with the opportunity to find out more about Lucy Reed’s recently published book ‘Transparency in the Family Courts – Publicity and Privacy in Practice’ … Read More »...
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Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Practice Guidance: Standard children and other orders

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Practice Guidance: Standard children and other orders | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Issued by the President of the Family Division...
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Family Law Week: Practice Guidance: Standard children and other orders

Family Law Week: Practice Guidance: Standard children and other orders | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Home > News Practice Guidance: Standard children and other orders The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has issued Guidance promulgating standard children and other orders for general use. The President notes that in March 2018 he issued for consultation the second batch of Standard Family Orders: [2018] Fam Law 371. This included, as Orders 7.2 and 8.2, lengthy precedents, running to 88 and 131 paragraphs respectively, of case management orders for private and public law cases.The objective was to capture virtually every scenario likely to arise, and as such they included some rare outliers. The responses to the consultation identified some useful drafting and structural points, which have been taken into account in finalising the drafts, but the overwhelming majority of the responses complained at the length and, sometimes, the structure of Order 7.2 and, in particular, Order 8.2. The purpose of Orders 7.2 and 8.2 was to provide a comprehensive menu from which the appropriate orders and directions could be easily selected and used in shorter form template orders. Orders 7.2 and 8.2 are now framed as libraries of precedents rather than order templates. They include, at the start, hyperlinked tables of contents to make selection easier. The idea is that clauses, selected from the relevant precedent library, are used to augment and/or modify the shorter form template orders referred to below. The team has produced a number of shorter Public and Private Law Case Management Directions Orders (Orders 7.3-7.6 and 8.3-8.5 respectively) which seek to cover the situations most likely to arise. In concept, these mirror the idea of Order 1.2 – the shorter version of the Financial Directions Order. Alternatively, practitioners can by-pass the length of Orders 7.2 and 8.2 by use of commercial software. Just as with the earlier Financial Orders, the President anticipates that practitioners will swiftly build up a library of their own precedents for use in later cases. Order 7.7 is a summary private law order for litigants in person, designed to give a simplified summary of the issues to be considered at the next hearing and what they must do to get ready for it. It may either be used as a free-standing order or as an attachment to a template order. Some respondents to the consultation adverted to certain local practices whereby the order made by the court replicates in its entirety the case management order currently in use but with the unused paragraphs struck through rather than entirely removed. Such practices should cease. In future, orders as drawn and sealed by the court should contain only those paragraphs that apply, and there should be no sign, even if struck through, of unused text. The orders do not have the strict status of forms within Part 5 of the FPR 2010 and their use, although very strongly to be encouraged, is not mandatory. Moreover, a standard order may be varied by the court or a party if the variation is required by the circumstances of a particular case. There will be many circumstances when a variation is required and departure from the standard form will not, of course, prevent an order being valid and binding. The standard orders should however represent the starting point, and, I would hope and expect, usually the finishing point, of the drafting exercise. For the Guidance itself and a link to the zip file of orders, click here. 7/6/18 Keywords:President's guidanceprivate law childrenpublic law children
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A brilliant new online resource for children and young people –

A brilliant new online resource for children and young people – | Children In Law | Scoop.it
A brilliant new online resource  Rights4children has been launched by Article 39. Please share and help publicise this brilliant new resource for children and young people!  Called rights4children, the site is packed with information about children’s rights, on topics important to them. It has drawn on the expert advise of children and young people (see Roll of honour ). The…
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Mothers are more likely to abuse children than fathers. Fact? | Child Protection Resource

Mothers are more likely to abuse children than fathers. Fact? | Child Protection Resource | Children In Law | Scoop.it
I recently had a bit of a heated debate with a anonymous tweeter ‘Preserved by Faith’ who was very sure that 71% of children killed by a family member are killed by their mother. She relied upon statistics provided by Mark Rosenthal’s ‘Breaking the Science’ These appear to be credible and are taken from the US Department of Health and Human Services. Data from U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services “Child Maltreatment” reports, 2001-2006* Victims by Parental Status of Perpetrators Child abuse and neglect Child fatalities 2001-2006 2001-2006 Mother Only 1,452,099 1,704 Mother and Other 222,836 565 Mother total (alone or with someone other than the father) 1,674,935 2269 Father Only 661,129 859 Father and Other 37,836 77 Father total (alone or with someone other than the mother) 698,965 936 Both total (Involving one parent acting alone or in concert with someone not the child’s other parent) 2,373,900 3,205 Percent of cases involving one parent acting either alone or in concert with someone other than the child’s other parent Mother Involved But Not Father 70.6% 70.8% Father Involved But Not Mother 29.4% 29.2% What I don’t know because the table doesn’t make it clear, is how many of these mothers and fathers were living together at the time the child died. Is part of the reason that more children are killed by mothers because more women than men are primary carers of children? The vast majority of lone parents are mothers. In the UK in 2014 for example 91% of lone parents were women. But probably a more interesting percentage that can be gleaned from these figures is that children killed by parents acting alone. I haven’t analysed those figures when a parent ‘acted’ with another because no explanation is given of what that means or what degree of culpability was afforded the parent as opposed to the ‘other’. 1,704 were killed by a mother acting alone. That represents only 0.12% of the1,452,099 children who are neglected by their mother alone.  For fathers, who by themselves neglected 661,129 children, they killed 0.13% (859). So in terms of parents acting alone, fathers kill MORE children than mothers. She then moved on to assert that mothers were more likely to abuse children than father’s full stop, referring to an Australian article ‘Why aren’t we talking about abusive mums?‘. Again I wonder to what extent this is reflection of the fact that women are overwhelmingly more likely to be lone carers, and considerably more likely to be poor. Half of all absent fathers in the UK pay nothing towards their children. Women are also more likely than men to be victims of violence and abuse from intimate partners. Studies shower the mothers are more likely to abuse children than fathers. #fact I would rather listen to statistics, research studies, my own experience and the thousands of other alienated parents speaking up —>https://t.co/6tJOcVESks — Preserved By Faith (@PreservedFaith) June 5, 2018 Lets look at this article. It has a link to its claim that ‘children are far more likely to suffer abuse or neglect at the hands of mothers – but that link is simply to another article offering the experiences of ‘Sarah’ who was sexually abused by her mother and I couldn’t find any reference to statistics there. It does however quote this study The Child Family Community Australia reports, “A British retrospective prevalence study of 2669 young adults aged 18-24 (May-Chahal & Cawson, 2005) found that mothers were more likely than fathers to be responsible for physical abuse 49 per cent of incidents compared to 40 per cent).” So no 70/30 split in terms of physical abuse. It then says this, but provides no link to any published statistics in support DHHS data in the UK shows that of children abused by one parent between 2001 and 2006, 70.6 per cent were abused by their mothers, 29.4 per cent were abused by their fathers. I wonder if that is actually a reference to the statistic quoted by Mark Rosenthal given the reference to ‘DHHS’ which isn’t a UK body. With such precise statistics quoted, the lack of any link is odd. ‘Preserved by Faith’ also referred to this data from the American Society for the Positive Care of Children. But this doesn’t seem to break down the figures to show what proportion of the abusers were mothers and what proportion fathers or step fathers. However they are a shocking light shone on just how dangerous parents are for children. NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE STATISTICS 4 million child maltreatment referral reports received.1 Child abuse reports involved 7.2 million children.1 3.4 million children received prevention & post-response services.1 207,000 children received foster care services.1 75.3% of victims are neglected.1 17.2% of victims are physically abused.1 8.4% of victims are sexually abused.1 6.9% of victims are psychologically maltreated.1 Highest rate of child abuse in children under one (24.2% per 1,000).1 Over one-quarter (27.%) of victims are younger than 3 years.1 Annual estimate: 1,670 to 1740 children died from abuse and neglect.1,3 Almost five children die every day from child abuse.1,2 80% of child fatalities involve at least one parent.1 74.8% of child fatalities are under the age of 3.1 72.9% of the child abuse victims die from neglect.1 43.9% of the child abuse victims die from physical abuse.1 49.4% of children who die from child abuse are under one year.1 Almost 60,000 children are sexually abused.1 More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator.6 Estimated that between 50-60% of maltreatment fatalities are not recorded on death certificates.5 Child abuse crosses all socioeconomic and educational levels, religions, ethnic and cultural groups.1   But what is the point of all of this? I don’t think the statistics show that mothers are more evil and more prone to abuse children than fathers. I think the statistics show that mothers are more likely to be in a situation where they will be poor and under stress. I really don’t know what ‘Preserved by Faith’ was trying to argue. She seemed to have a pretty clear animus against her step children’s mother but it wasn’t clear if she was trying to argue that the mother was therefore more likely to murder her children so custody should be given to their dad, now married to ‘Preserved by Faith’. I could see that ‘Preserved by Faith’ was pretty angry and upset at what she perceived to be the situation. And yes, if its true what she set out, that’s a hard road to travel. You're tweeting to a woman married to a hard working & loving dad who has spent $38K, 5+ years fighting for equal rights 2 see his kids FOR NO REASON other than ex is spiteful, vindictive & the abusive one the kids need protecting from. Your mentality is part of the problem. — Preserved By Faith (@PreservedFaith) June 5, 2018 But does the path get any easier by relying on partial statistics to make some general point that as mothers are 70% of child killers, then HER step children should spend 50% of their time with their dad? The tragedy of these cases is that the adults involved often cannot look beyond their own anger and they fall back on tired generalisations about ‘men’ versus ‘women’. If their rage is palpable to me – a complete stranger they ‘meet’ on the internet, I wonder what is is like for the children in their lives who presumably have a much more immediate and proximate exposure to such negative emotions. Their mother and father are not statistics for them.
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Re-telling a young mother's story

Re-telling a young mother's story | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The British Association of Social Workers is the independent and member-led professional association of social workers in the United Kingdom.
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Family Law Week: Thousands of children are ‘pinging’ around the care system

Family Law Week: Thousands of children are ‘pinging’ around the care system | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Home > News Thousands of children are ‘pinging’ around the care system Over 3,000 children have moved home four or more times in two years This year's Stability Index, published by Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, shows that many children in care are receiving stable and consistent care but reveals, for the second year running, that thousands of children are still 'pinging' around the system, changing homes, schools or social worker. Almost 2,400 children changed home, school and social worker over the last twelve months and, looking at data across two years, over 3,000 children had to move home four or more times. Over three years, around 2,500 children moved home five or more times. The report also shows just how disruptive changing school can be: around 4,300 children in care moved school in the middle of the year, and their new school was 24 miles away on average. Meanwhile around 400 children who moved school ended up missing a whole term as a result. The research suggests that older children – especially those entering care from the age of 12 to 15 – are most at risk of instability, and may need extra support to prevent placements breaking down. It also highlights the importance of getting children in care into the best schools: children at poor-performing schools are more likely to experience a school move, and less likely to move to a better school. By comparison, those in good schools are less likely to move, and when they do it is usually to another good school. As the Children's Commissioner emphasizes, stability is important for any child, and unwanted moves or school changes and the disruption they can bring can be particularly difficult for children in care. Stable relationships and a secure environment provide a sense of belonging and identity. Where there is instability relationships with trusted adults and other children suffer, succeeding at school becomes more difficult and vulnerability increases, leading some children to fall through the gaps and others open to exclusion, exploitation and abuse. The Children's Commissioner created the annual Stability Index last year to encourage councils to hold themselves to account for children moving around the system and to work towards improving the system and ultimately the lives of children in care. Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, commenting on the report, said: "Every day I hear from 'pinball kids' who are being pinged around the care system when all they really want is to be settled and to get on with normal life. These children need stability, yet far too many are living unstable lives, in particular children entering care in their early teens. This puts them at greater risk of falling through the gaps in the education system and opens them up to exploitation by gangs or to abuse. "It is very concerning that the number of children having to move around the system has hardly changed over the last year. Over one in five children in care are not in the good or outstanding schools they should be, and I am worried that the system has given up on the hundreds of children bouncing around from one poor school to another. I want all local authorities to make reducing instability a priority and to measure it. I would also like to see Ofsted assessing the stability of children in care as part of their inspections and for the Department for Education to start asking for data on this in their annual returns from Local Authorities. "The care system does work for many thousands of children but our ambition should be for every child growing up in care to have the same chances to live happy, healthy and rewarding lives as any other child. We put that at risk if we are expecting some children to constantly change school and home." For the report, click here. 3/6/18 Keywords:children in careChildren's Commissioner
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EAPAP – London 2018: What it Means for Parents –

EAPAP – London 2018: What it Means for Parents – | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners was convened in Prague in 2017 to provide a new governing body for everyone working in the field of parental alienation.  The EAPAP website has details of the members and we will be adding to that list over the coming months as membership grows.   What EAPAP does…
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Book review: Surrogacy: Law, Practice and Policy in England and Wales

Book review: Surrogacy: Law, Practice and Policy in England and Wales | Children In Law | Scoop.it
A review of the essential guide to surrogacy for legal practitioners, academics, students, policy-makers, infertility clinics and charitable organisations
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A trial for change: the experiences and dilemmas of a multidisciplinary expert witness team

A trial for change: the experiences and dilemmas of a multidisciplinary expert witness team | Children In Law | Scoop.it
In this article, which features in the June 2018 issue of Family Law ([2018] Fam Law 742), the authors, who are members of a multidisciplinary mental health expert witness team, discuss a model they have developed of extended assessment carried out in the context of Care Proceedings, referred to as a ‘Trial for Change'.
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Family Law Week: Children’s Commissioner calls for protection of children’s rights post-Brexit

Family Law Week: Children’s Commissioner calls for protection of children’s rights post-Brexit | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Home > News Children’s Commissioner calls for protection of children’s rights post-Brexit Ministers asked to reconsider withdrawal from EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield OBE, has raised concerns about the protection of children's rights in the wake of the government's decision to take the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights out of British law after Brexit. In a recent blog she notes that the House of Lords has voted to overturn the plan and shortly MPs will have the opportunity to decide whether to back the decision. The Children's Commissioner writes: "Under Article 24 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, children have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being. Their views must be taken into account on matters concerning them and their best interest must be a primary consideration in any action taken relating to them." She adds: "I believe there is a risk that losing these important children's rights could have a detrimental effect on some children's lives in the future. We know from the recent legal controversies surrounding the tragic life of Alfie Evans that the fundamental need for a child's best interests to be a primary consideration is an important principle that can affect a child's life. This must be protected." The Children's Commissioner concludes: "The Government's recent defeat in the Lords now gives Ministers the opportunity to stop, think, and ask themselves a very simple question: do we want to be remembered as a Government that took away rights from children? I hope Ministers will conclude that they do not." For the blog piece, click here. 7/6/18
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Family Law Week: No significant improvement in availability of secure accommodation for children and young persons

Family Law Week: No significant improvement in availability of secure accommodation for children and young persons | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Home > News No significant improvement in availability of secure accommodation for children and young persons Official figures published for England and Wales: March 2018 At 31 March 2018, there were 255 places approved for use in secure children's homes in England and Wales and 254 in the previous three years. The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has highlighted the crisis in availability of accommodation for children in suitable, secure clinical/hospital settings in a series of judgments culminating in Re X (A Child) (No 6) [2018] EWHC 1005 (Fam). The President also considered the issue in his recent speech at the University of Liverpool. The annual figures have been released by the Department for Education. The number of children accommodated in secure children's homes was 204 at 31 March 2018 and similar to last year when there were 203. At 31 March 2018, there were 120 places contracted to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), an increase from 117 last year. At 31 March 2018, 86% of approved places in England and Wales were either in use or available for use. This has fallen from 89% in 2017 – this fall reflects the decrease in number of rooms resulting from ongoing building renovations in two homes since 2017. At 31 March 2018, 80% of approved places in England and Wales were occupied, the same as last year. For the complete annual figures, click here. 7/6/18 Keywords:president of family divisionsecure accommodation
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Family Law Week: Children: Public Law Update (June 2018)

Family Law Week: Children: Public Law Update (June 2018) | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Home > Articles Children: Public Law Update (June 2018) John Tughan QC of 4 Paper Buildings reviews recent, important Children Public Law cases. John Tughan QC, 4 Paper Buildings In this public law update, I will touch upon recent decisions which concerned the following issues: (1) the fact-finding process, the role of the criminal law and the need for preparation time; (2) s20 accommodation and the misuse of it together with anonymity (3) the division of responsibility between the Court and a local authority in the context of placement orders Re R (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 198 is an interesting split-decision of the Court of Appeal relating to the fact-finding process.  Theis J was dealing with the death of a Mother through a stab or slash-wound in the context of an acrimonious parental separation.  The wound arose out of an argument between the parents.  F and a child both received knife wounds and the issue in the case was whether F had acted in self-defence.  F had been charged with murder and acquitted on all counts. The Court of Appeal focused on two questions: a)  The extent to which, if at all, the Family Court should import elements of criminal law into a fact-finding determination within child care proceedings; b)  Whether the amount of time allowed for preparation by the father's legal team in this case was so constricted that the resulting trial was unfair within the terms of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In preparing closing submissions before Theis J the parties, through Counsel, had prepared an agreed note on the law, which included a treatment of the criminal law of self defence.  F's appeal implicitly accepted the relevance of the criminal law concepts to the fact-finding process in the Family Court.  However, on appeal all parties agreed that the criminal law had no place in the family court.  McFarlane LJ gave the lead judgment and Hickinbottom LJ agreed.  Gloster LJ disagreed. Having referred to the two earlier cases that were on point (Re U (Serious Injury: Standard of Proof); Re B [2004] EWCA Civ 567 and A Local Authority v S, W and T [2004] EWHC 1270) McFarlane LJ said this: "65. The extracts from the judgments of Butler-Sloss P and Hedley J helpfully, and accurately, point to the crucial differences between the distinct roles and focus of the criminal court, on the one hand, and the Family Court, on the other, albeit that each may be considering the same event or events within their separate proceedings. Against that background, it must be clear that criminal law concepts, such as the elements needed to establish guilt of a particular crime or a defence, have neither relevance nor function within a process of fact-finding in the Family Court. Given the wider range of evidence that is admissible in family proceedings and, importantly, the lower standard of proof, it is at best meaningless for the Family Court to make a finding of 'murder' or 'manslaughter' or 'unlawful killing'. How is such a finding to be understood, both by the professionals and the individual family members in the case itself, and by those outside who may be told of it, for example the Police? The potential for such a finding to be misunderstood and to cause profound upset and harm is, to me, all too clear. 66. Looked at from another angle, if the Family Court were required to deploy the criminal law directly into its analysis of the evidence at a fact-finding hearing such as this, the potential for the process to become unnecessarily bogged down in legal technicality is also plain to see....." McFarlane LJ also repeated and endorsed some of the dicta relating to an often-run argument in support of fact-finding, the child's right to know the truth.  He said this: "88. For my part, and from experience of a number of such cases over the years, the importance, in some cases, of the court and the children knowing whether or not the surviving parent's actions were reasonable or not in relation to the circumstances of the death itself is likely to render a fact-finding hearing necessary, but this, it must be stressed, is a matter for the trial judge to determine in each case. That general observation is in line with the judgment of this court [Wall LJ and Neuberger LJ] in Re K (Non-accidental Injuries: Perpetrator: New Evidence) [2004] EWCA Civ 1181... '… we are also of the view that it is in the public interest that children have the right, as they grow up into adulthood, to know the truth about who injured them when they were children, and why. Children who are removed from their parents as a result of non-accidental injuries have in due course to come to terms with the fact that one or both of their parents injured them. This is a heavy burden for any child to bear. In principle, children need to know the truth if the truth can be ascertained.'" Hickinbottom LJ said this: "103. The second point of divergence between McFarlane LJ and Gloster LJ is more stark. McFarlane LJ considers that criminal law concepts, such as the elements that must be established to prove guilt or disprove a defence, have no place ("neither relevance or function") in family proceedings; whereas Gloster LJ considers that it is unavoidable that family court judges apply such criminal law concepts to fact-finding trials. On this issue, I very firmly prefer the view of McFarlane LJ. With respect to the contrary view of Gloster LJ, I agree with him that it is fundamentally wrong for the Family Court to be drawn into an analysis of factual evidence in proceedings relating to the welfare of children based upon criminal law principles and concepts." Gloster LJ said this: "121. Whilst I share McFarlane LJ's concerns about the undesirability of introducing criminal concepts into trials in the family court of welfare issues, I see real difficulty in a judge being able to determine whether the father's conduct was "reasonable" – i.e. whether he is to be criticised in a family welfare context for reacting with violence to the mother's violent knife attack upon him, and upon their child - without regard to, or applying, criminal law concepts of self-defence, reasonable force, and loss of control. If the judge is indeed required to decide the issue of whether the father used 'inappropriate force' or 'proportionate force' (see paragraph 90 of McFarlane LJ's judgment), or whether his conduct was "unreasonable" in relation to the circumstances of the death itself, then I ask rhetorically by what other standards can the judge evaluate the appellant's past conduct and any potential risk that might give rise to in the future, other than by the relevant criminal standards? What other guide will he or she have to determine the issue as to whether the father's killing of the mother was blameworthy, unreasonable or inappropriate?" There was also a divergence between McFarlane LJ and Gloster LJ on the necessity for fact-finding hearings on such issues.  In reply to paragraph 88 of McFarlane LJ's judgment, Gloster LJ said this: "117. But in response to the point made by McFarlane LJ at para 88 as to the necessity for a fact finding hearing so that the court and the children may know whether or not the surviving parent's actions were reasonable or not in relation to the circumstances of the death itself, I would refer to para 35 of the judgment of the Supreme court in S-B Children [2009] UKSC 17, where the court pointed out there is no obligation to identify a perpetrator: "Of course, it may be difficult for the judge to decide, even on the balance of probabilities, who has caused the harm to the child. There is no obligation to do so. As we have already seen, unlike a finding of harm, it is not a necessary ingredient of the threshold criteria. As Lord Justice Wall put it in Re D (Care Proceedings: Preliminary Hearings) [2009] EWCA Civ 472 judges should not strain to identify the perpetrator as a result of the decision in Re B: "If an individual perpetrator can be properly identified on the balance of probabilities, then . . . it is the judge's duty to identify him or her. But the judge should not start from the premise that it will only be in an exceptional case that it will not be possible to make such an identification." 118. In a case such as the present, where the issue, as McFarlane LJ has pointed out in para 89 above, is more likely to be whether the father has caused the children emotional harm, and therefore whether there is a potential for future emotional and psychological harm arising from the 'fact', if fact it be, that the surviving parent caused the death of the other, it seems to me that the decision whether to determine the killing issues is more finely balanced than McFarlane LJ appears to suggest." The second issue is also of interest to practitioners.  The local authority changed the pleaded case late-on in the proceedings and it became apparent that the criminal evidence was to be largely re-heard.  F's team applied for and were granted a one week adjournment of the fact-finding hearing in which to prepare.  The complaint related to the volume of the task facing F's representatives.  McFarlane LJ said this: "An advocate as experienced and robust as Miss Venters deserves to be taken seriously when she tells an appellate court that, in consequence of the difficulties that she has explained, she 'simply did not have a grip on the evidence' and that, despite giving a clear and specific account of her professional difficulties, her client's case in that regard was not heard. When the factual finding that the court has made is of the magnitude and, in terms of its impact in the family proceedings and elsewhere, importance as the one reached by the judge here, the need to take what is said seriously is particularly acute. Although we have not drilled down to detail, or examined the trial documents and other material, there is no real dispute about the scale of the task facing the father's lawyers when, for the first time on 26th June, they understood that the criminal evidence was all to be re-heard within the family proceedings. They had, initially, 11 working days to prepare and, although that was subsequently extended to 15 and the experts were not called until 3 weeks after that, it seems likely to me that the timetable imposed by the court on the father's team was, in the circumstances, untenable." In Herefordshire Council v AB [2018] EWFC 10 Keehan J was dealing with two cases.  CD was born in 2001, was accommodated in 2009 and only made the subject of public law care proceedings until September 2017.  GH was born in early 2008.  He was born with significant disabilities and spent the first five months of his life in a special care baby unit in Hereford hospital.  His mother was 14 at the time of his birth and his father was 17.  In July 2008 he was accommodated and was not made the subject of public law care proceedings until September 2017 when he was nine years of age. Keehan J conducted a review of the law in relation to s20 accommodation, including Northamptonshire County Council v AS & Ors [2015] EWHC 199 (Fam) and Re: N (Children) (Adoption: Jurisdiction) [2016] 1 FLR, 621 in which the President said: • "The first issue relates to the use by the local authority, in my judgment the misuse by the local authority, of the procedure under section 20 of the 1989 Act.  As we have seen, the children were placed in accordance with section 20 in May 2013.  Yet it was not until January 2014, over eight months later, that the local authority eventually issued care proceedings.  Section 20 may, in an appropriate case, have a proper role to play as a short-term measure pending the commencement of care proceedings but the use of section 20, as a prelude to care proceedings for a period as long as here, is wholly unacceptable.  It is, in my judgment, and I use the phrase advisedly and deliberately, a misuse by the local authority of its statutory powers.  As I said in Re: A (a Child) in Darlington Borough Council v M [2015] EWFC 11, paragraph 100, 'There is, I feared, far too much misuse and abuse of section 20 and this can be no longer tolerated. Of the case before him and the damage done to the children because of this state of affairs, Keehan J said this: "I have never before encountered two cases where a local authority has so seriously and serially failed to address the needs of the children in its care and so seriously misused, indeed abused, the provisions of section 20 of the Children Act 1989.  By happenchance alone, as it appears to me, both children have remained in the care of quite extraordinary and superlative carers who have met their respective needs extremely well.  I offer the warmest of thanks and congratulations to CD's foster carers and to GH's foster carer.  For periods of at least eight years they have each cared for the two boys without any parental responsibility for either of them.  Both sets of foster carers have in many ways been failed by this local authority, but their commitment to CD and GH respectively has been undaunted and unfailing.  Nevertheless, serious and long lasting damage has resulted.  Contact between CD and his mother had never properly been considered nor promoted.  The mother is not without blame on this issue.  It led however to an extremely unfortunate event recently where the mother and CD inadvertently came across each other in public and the mother did not recognise her son.  CD was dramatically affected.  What child could reasonably cope with their mother or father not recognising them?  In respect of GH, his mother was so young when he was born that she needed the greatest possible advice, support and consideration.  She was not given any of the foregoing.  The local authority, as referred to above, did not even consider whether she was capable of consenting to GH's accommodation.  Thereafter she was frankly side-lined." The Court was asked by the local authority not to publish the name of the authority.  It was an authority struggling to recruit and it argued that past mistakes should not impact it in this way now.  Keehan J refused that application and gave reasons: "I decided that a public judgment which named the local authority was necessary for the following reasons: (a) the President has repeatedly emphasised the importance of transparency and openness in the conduct of cases in the Family Division and in the Family Court; (b) the public have a real and legitimate interest in knowing what public bodies do, or, as in these cases, do not do in their name and on their behalf; (c) the failure to plan and take action in both of these cases is extremely serious.  There were repeated flagrant breaches of guidance from the judges of the division and of standard good practice; (d) it is evident that this case emanates from the Midlands Circuit.  Not to identify the relevant local authority would unfairly run the risk of other authorities on this circuit coming under suspicion; and (e) the President and the judges of the division have always previously taken a robust approach on the identification of local authorities, experts and professionals whose approach or working practices are found to be below an acceptable standard. The director is understandably concerned about the potential adverse consequences of a public judgment.  I fully understand those concerns, but, for the reasons I have given above, I do not consider these concerns should lead me to anonymise the local authority.  In my view these concerns are addressed, or at least ameliorated, by the court making it clear, as I do in paragraphs 11 and 12 above and in the paragraphs below, that the criticisms set out in this judgment relate to the past actions of this local authority and that there is now a new director and leadership team in place who are committed to change and to improve the care and provision of services to the children and young people in its care." In Re T (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 650 the Court of Appeal was faced with a position in which the Court below had decided that a child could live with a family member but only if that person was provided with support and monitoring.  The local authority declined to provide such support. The options before the Judge were approval of the grandmother as a kinship carer and local authority support or care and placement orders as sought by the local authority.  After an adjournment for the local authority to consider the judgment, following the refusal to do so, care and placement orders were made.  Permission to appeal was granted on the basis that the necessity of adoption was not made out.   Peter Jackson LJ conducted a review of those authorities relating to the separation of powers between the Court and local authority.  They include: • An application for a placement order fundamentally engages the State's obligation under Article 8 ECHR to uphold the right to respect for family life. The nature of the obligation is concisely described in Re B-S (Children)(Adoption: Leave to Oppose) [2014] 1 WLR 563 • "The overarching principle remains as explained by Hale LJ, as she then was, in Re C and B [2001] 1 FLR 611 • YC v United Kingdom (2012) 55 EHRR 967: 'family ties may only be severed in very exceptional circumstances and … everything must be done to preserve personal relations and, where appropriate, to "rebuild" the family. It is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment for his upbringing.' • Both the local authority and the court are public bodies and these well-known obligations apply to them both. This common purpose means that in the great majority of cases the local authority will acknowledge the court's welfare decision and, if necessary, amend its care plan to accommodate it; where that does not happen, the remedy of judicial review is available: Re C (Religious Observance) [2002] 1 FLR 1119. • However, there are also divisions of responsibility. The court cannot dictate to the local authority what its care plan should be: Re S and D (Children: Powers of Court) [1995] 2 FLR 456.  • Nor can it maintain supervision or control after a final order has been made: Re S (Minors)(Care Order: Implementation of Care Plan) [2002] UKHL 10 • Re CH (Care or Interim Care Order) [1998] 1 FLR 402 at 410. Here is his observation in that case on the relationship between the court and the local authority: "The interdisciplinary character of the family justice system emphasises the co-operation that should exist between the court and public authority. It is, from my perception, inconceivable that there should not be reciprocal respect between the court and public authority for their differing functions and differing views. Manifestly, the statutory responsibility post-care order remains solely with the local authority. It is equally manifest that the local authority will pay due regard to the function of the judge in giving judgment upon the care plan after careful appraisal. Manifestly, the local authority will have greater regard for a judgment that is considered and that has embraced all the relevant circumstances and all the necessary expert opinion. I have no doubt that no public authority would wish the judicial appraisal to be preceded by anything less." • Re W (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Court's Function) [2013] EWCA Civ 1227, also known as W (A Child) v Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, " The court's powers extend to making an order other than that asked for by a local authority. …  It is simply not open to a local authority within proceedings to decline to accept the court's evaluation of risk, no matter how much it may disagree with the same.... If the local authority's care plan fails to meet the court's expectations, the court may ask the local authority to reconsider.  If the plan in its formulation or content is deficient on public law grounds, then once the family court has asked for that to be rectified (perhaps more than once) then the High Court may engage with the issue to decide the challenge.... The circumstance in which a local authority can or indeed should be judicially reviewed on the content of a care plan should be rare indeed.  …  For the avoidance of doubt, I shall be more plain.  If the local authority disagree with the judge's risk evaluation they must in a case where it is wrong appeal it.  The appellate court will be able to consider such an appeal, where that is integral to the order or judgment of the court.  If the welfare evaluation is not appealed then it stands and the local authority must respect it and work with it while the proceedings are outstanding.  To do otherwise risks disproportionate, irrational or otherwise unlawful conduct on their part." In this case, the Court of Appeal held: (1)  The judge underestimated her powers. She should not have accepted the local authority's unchanged position without calling it to account for what was on the face of it an unconvincing response to her careful assessment of risk and welfare; (2)  It is true that the judge stayed her order to allow for judicial review proceedings, but that amounted to an acknowledgement that the resources of the family court were exhausted, when they were not. In effect, she accepted the submission of the local authority..... that the decision in relation to whether the child should be placed in the care of the grandmother was not a question for the court. It was; (3)  Even if the point arrived where a decision had to be taken in circumstances where the local authority maintained a refusal to approve the grandmother as a foster carer, it was necessary for the judge to re-evaluate the remaining options for Alan's future. By not doing this, she effectively boxed herself in. Had she looked at matters afresh, she would inevitably have confronted the fact that this was a child who was being sent for adoption as a direct result of a decision of a non-court body, an outcome unprecedented in modern times so far as I am aware. She would then have been able to weigh that prospect against a range of lesser legal orders (interim care order, private law order, supervision order, injunctions, special guardianship, wardship) in order to arrive at a valid welfare outcome; (4)  The fact that the local authority's decision arose as a result of a second process (fostering approval) does not alter the general principles that apply. The Agency Decision Maker was not obliged to follow the recommendation of the panel. Nor was the Agency Decision Maker in relation to fostering approval responsible for the case put by the local authority to the court. The judge's further investigations would have led her to better understand who was ultimately directing the local authority's thinking and to achieve an effective engagement with them until the issue had been satisfactorily resolved. 31.5.18
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Protecting children's rights post-Brexit

Protecting children's rights post-Brexit | Children In Law | Scoop.it
It would be astonishing to hear any government make the argument that children’s rights should be abolished, yet that is exactly the position the Government is taking with its decision to take the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights out of British law after Brexit.
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Is, Was and Ever Will Be

Is, Was and Ever Will Be | Children In Law | Scoop.it
    This is a Court of Appeal decision in relation to significant harm in care proceedings, where the harm was said to be emotional harm. And this is always a hot-button topic.  Re S & H-S Children 2018 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/1282.html   It also deals with the grammatical weirdness...
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Practice Guidance: Standard children and other orders

Practice Guidance: Standard children and other orders | Children In Law | Scoop.it
On 30 November 2017 I issued Practice Guidance: Standard financial and enforcement orders, [2018] Fam Law 89.[1] These orders, which are available in both hard and soft formats, as well as being generatable by commercial software, have been very well received. Indeed, I have learned that they are being considered for adoption, in suitably modified form, in Hong Kong. I have no doubt that those orders are achieving the objective I identified, namely to promote national consistency, and to avoid for the future, so far as possible, ambiguities in the meaning of the wording of an order. In my guidance of 30 November 2017, I said: "Inordinate amounts of time and money are spent – wasted – in the process of drafting orders that could, and therefore should, be standardised … We are no longer living in the world of the fountain pen and biro (which even today still account for far too much drafting of orders) any more than in the world of the quill pen. My ambition, therefore, is that the standardised orders should be available to everyone electronically. The use of standard orders produced at the press of a button will obviate the need for drafts from counsel and solicitors scribbled out in the corridor. It should assist greatly in reducing the time judges and court staff spend approving and completing orders. And the existence of a body of standardised and judicially approved forms of order will go a long way to assisting judges and others – mediators for example – faced with the increasing number of litigants in person who cannot be expected to draft their own orders. In the long run, this project is critically dependent upon the availability of modern, up-to-date, IT in the courts. At present, the full use of standardised orders is still impeded by the inadequate state of the IT available to judges and courts [but] the steady implementation of the ongoing court modernisation programme gives real cause for optimism that we will fairly soon be seeing real changes in our IT as the digital court of the future becomes a reality. The digital revolution will enable us to carry through to completion this radical revision of court orders and how they are produced. Court orders will be standardised and digitised, with standard templates, self-populating boxes and drop-down menus designed to ease and shorten the process of drafting and then producing the order. Given the marvels of modern IT, why should we not be able to hand every litigant in all but the most complex cases a sealed order before they leave the courtroom?" One of the longest orders is No 1.1 – the Financial Directions Order. This seeks to capture virtually every scenario likely to arise in a financial remedy case. It includes some rare outliers, such as a precedent for an order for disclosure to trustees. Plainly, such an order would only be made exceptionally but it was necessary, equally plainly, for the standard order to be as comprehensive as possible. However, recognising the tedium of having to work through the full scope of the order it was decided to produce as Order 1.2 a shorter version of the Financial Directions Order containing those clauses most commonly encountered and used. Experience has shown that, even in the short time these orders have been in general use, practitioners have built up a library of orders which they then re-use, suitably adapted, in subsequent cases. Pending the introduction of suitable IT in the courts, an alternative route to by-passing the length of the comprehensive order is to use commercial software which allows the user to pick the clauses needed for a specific case from a menu and then generates the order in Word format. On 13 March 2018 I issued for consultation the second batch of Standard Family Orders: [2018] Fam Law 371. This included, as Orders 7.2 and 8.2, lengthy precedents, running to 88 and 131 paragraphs respectively, of case management orders for private and public law cases. Again, the objective was to capture virtually every scenario likely to arise, and as such they included some rare outliers. The responses to the consultation identified some useful drafting and structural points, which have been taken into account in finalising the drafts, but the overwhelming majority of the responses complained at the length and, sometimes, the structure of Order 7.2 and, in particular, Order 8.2. The purpose of Orders 7.2 and 8.2 was to provide a comprehensive menu from which the appropriate orders and directions could be easily selected and used in shorter form template orders. Orders 7.2 and 8.2 are now framed as libraries of precedents rather than order templates. They include, at the start, hyperlinked tables of contents to make selection easier. The idea is that clauses, selected from the relevant precedent library, are used to augment and/or modify the shorter form template orders referred to below. The team has produced a number of shorter Public and Private Law Case Management Directions Orders (Orders 7.3-7.6 and 8.3-8.5 respectively) which seek to cover the situations most likely to arise. In concept, these mirror the idea of Order 1.2 – the shorter version of the Financial Directions Order. Alternatively, practitioners can by-pass the length of Orders 7.2 and 8.2 by use of commercial software. Just as with the Financial Orders, I anticipate that practitioners will swiftly build up a library of their own precedents for use in later cases. Order 7.7 is a summary private law order for litigants in person, designed to give a simplified summary of the issues to be considered at the next hearing and what they must do to get ready for it. It may either be used as a free-standing order or as an attachment to a template order. Some respondents to the consultation adverted to certain local practices whereby the order made by the court replicates in its entirety the case management order currently in use but with the unused paragraphs struck through rather than entirely removed. Such practices should cease. In future, orders as drawn and sealed by the court should contain only those paragraphs that apply, and there should be no sign, even if struck through, of unused text. I therefore promulgate with this Guidance the standard children and other orders for general use. The orders to which this Guidance relates are those in the attached zip file. With my approval, these orders, like the first batch, have been prepared in accordance with the 'House Rules' referred to in my sixth 'View from the President's chambers': [2013] Fam Law 1260, 1263. These orders do not have the strict status of forms within Part 5 of the FPR 2010 and their use, although very strongly to be encouraged, is not mandatory. Moreover, a standard order may be varied by the court or a party if the variation is required by the circumstances of a particular case. There will be many circumstances when a variation is required and departure from the standard form will not, of course, prevent an order being valid and binding. The standard orders should however represent the starting point, and, I would hope and expect, usually the finishing point, of the drafting exercise. The orders are colour coded. The text in red colouring is used where a selection has to be made by the person drafting the order. The text in small capitals with green colouring is where the draft orders incorporate an editorial comment. This Guidance brings to a close, at least for the time being, the Family Orders Project which I established and which has been driven forward with his usual tenacity and skill by Mr Justice Mostyn. It is right to record, however, the enormous assistance which he and I have had from his band of enthusiastic collaborators, whose participation at various times and in relation to different parts of the Project has been so invaluable and without whose help it could not have been brought to so satisfactory a conclusion: Janet Bazley QC Mr Justice Cobb HHJ Martin Dancey Edward Devereux QC Teertha Gupta QC HHJ Edward Hess Amy Kisser Maggie Rae Alison Russell QC (now Ms Justice Russell) David Williams QC (now Mr Justice Williams) I thank them all. A special word of thanks is also due to Melissa Chapman of Class Publishing, whose editorial, proof-reading and formatting skills were essential in the final preparation of the various orders. James Munby, President of the Family Division 6 June 2018 [1] These were reissued on 22 January 2018 in order to correct a trivial error affecting only a very few orders: [2018] Fam Law 216. A further corrective update was issued by me on 15 May 2018: [2018] Fam Law 730. ----------------- PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The orders can be downloaded below but will be published as separate items on the Family Law Hub in the next week. Guidance on how to use the orders taken from The Standard Family Orders Handbook Volume 2 (in preparation - due July 2018) will also be published on the Hub for paid members. For more information on the book contact
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