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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

15 MAY 2014

LA v FM (No 1) [2013] EWHC 4671 (Fam)

(Family Division, Theis J, 27 September 2013)

Care proceedings - Death of sibling - Failure to protect - Adjournment to consider findings

Please see attached file below for full judgment.

The mother was granted a 3-week adjournment following a fact-finding hearing to consider her position in respect of the findings made against the father.

The two children, now aged 21 months and 9 months, were removed from their parents' care following the death of their 4-year-old brother. The father was charged with murder and care proceedings were initiated.

A fact-finding hearing was convened. The local authority claimed that the children were at risk of future significant harm due to domestic violence between the parents and the father being responsible for their sibling's death and sought care and placement orders. The mother was unable to acknowledge or accept the history of domestic violence and the future risk to herself and the children. Aside from that there were no concerns about the mother's parenting.

The guardian sought a short focused adjournment if there was any movement in the mother's position to enable her to reflect on the findings.

The judge found that there had been domestic violence in the parents' relationship, that the father had caused the sibling's death and that one of the other children had witnessed the assault. The mother had failed to protect the children as she knew of the father's violent propensity.

The judge noted that the case was very finely balanced but in recognising the strength of the relationship between the mother and children she allowed the mother's application for a short adjournment of 3 weeks in order to consider the findings and to decide whether she could acknowledge the risk posed by the father and put in place a safety plan.

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Neutral Citation Number: [2013] EWHC 4671 (Fam)

Case No: IL13C00216

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

FAMILY DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 27/09/2013

Before:

MRS JUSTICE THEIS DBE

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Between:

LA

Applicant

- and -

1) FM

1st Respondent

2) MA

2nd Respondent

- and -

3) A


3rd & 4th Respondents

4) B

(through their Children's Guardian)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mr Alex Verdan Q. C. (instructed by Local Authority) for the Applicants

Mr Richard Alomo (instructed by Forward Yussuf Solicitors?) for the 1st Respondent

Ms Francis Oldham Q. C. & Ms Jayne Harrill (instructed by Mackesys Solicitors?) for the 2nd Respondent

Ms Alison Burt (Covent Garden Family Law Solicitors?) for the 3rd & 4th Respondents

Hearing dates: 16th - 27th September 2013

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Judgment

LA v FM (No 1) [2014] EWHC 4671 (Fam)

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