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(Family Division; Ryder J; 18 September 2007)
The local authority and the guardian had assumed that in order to persuade the court that the child should be removed from the parent, all they had to demonstrate was that an interim threshold had been established. This was a profound error of perception that on the facts of the case amounted also to an error of law. Removal was a consideration separate from the existence of the interim threshold or the need for an interim order. When considering whether to remove a child the court had to consider whether there was an imminent risk of really serious harm; if there was not, the question of whether the mother was able to provide good enough long term care was a matter for the court to decide at a final hearing, and was not to be litigated at an interim hearing, effectively prejudging the full and profound trial of the authority case and the parents' response.
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