Family Law Titles
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(Court of Appeal; Carnwath, Lloyd and Wilson LJJ; 31 March 2011)
The mother came to this pregnant having been tortured and raped in Uganda. She was granted indefinite leave to remain in UK. When the child was born the mother's mental health problems put the child at risk (threats of infanticide and actual self-harm). The child was fostered and the mother was on good terms with foster parents. The mother became pregnant again and the relationship with the father broke down but remained on good terms.
On the facts the judge had been justified in refusing the mother's application for an assessment under s 38(6) Children Act despite the support of the guardian and doctor. The assessment was premature pending a psychiatric report. However the judge should have adjourned rather than dismissed the application to ensure continued public funding. Obiter consideration of the relevance of the cost of the assessment.
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