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25 JUN 2010

CARE PROCEEDINGS: Re F (Care Proceedings: Interim Care Order) [2010] EWCA 826

(Court of Appeal; Sir Nicholas Wall P, Thorpe LJ and Hedley J; 15 June 2010)

The mother's fifth and sixth children were newborn twins. The mother's previous four children were involved in care proceedings. Care proceedings were issued in respect of the twins. An application for interim care order was refused and the parent's application for leave to instruct an independent social worker was granted. The authority appealed. An agreed note of the judgment was submitted to the judge but he did not approve it. The appeal judge proposed that in the absence of an approved note of the judgment, she would embark on a rehearing on the same oral evidence, to which the parties agreed. The judge then granted an application for an interim care order and refused grant of leave to instruct a social worker. In doing so she placed a heavy emphasis on history and asserted that the children's' safety embraced both emotional and physical safety. The parents appealed on the basis that they would provide good standards of interim care and that without an independent social worker they would have no prospect of success at trial.

Appeal allowed, the court should not at interim stage decide issues being prepared for trial and separation only to be ordered if the child's safety demanded immediate separation.


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