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Family Law

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Court of Protection Practice and Procedure Conference 2016

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10 JAN 2014

CARE PROCEEDINGS: A Local Authority v NB [2013] EWHC 4100 (Fam)

(Family Division, Parker J, 15 July 2013)

During a fact-finding hearing in relation to injuries sustained to one of two siblings, the mother and father sought to explore the possibility that the mother's diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome might have in some way contributed to the injuries. That possibility was ruled out and the parents were found to be responsible for the injuries. Full care orders were made and an application for further assessment was refused.

Shortly after judgment was given, Baker J gave judgment in the Devon case [2013] EWHC 968 (Fam), in which he formed the conclusion that the features of the children's injuries could be consistent with a medical cause rather than abusive handling. In contrast to the facts of this case, Baker J found the parents to be impressive witnesses.

The parents' application for permission to appeal was dismissed but they now asked the judge to reopen the case and to file further evidence.

There were very significant differences between the case Baker J was dealing with and this one including the type of injuries sustained by the children. The judge accepted how serious the outcome was for the children and the parents and that the fact that it might take a little longer to investigate the injuries would not be a reason to plough ahead with the placement application, if there were any real prospect that a difference conclusion might be reached. However, on the evidence submitted there was no prospect of the decision being overturned. The reality was that to make further inquiry, an inquiry which had already been completed, would simply delay the outcome. Application refused. 


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