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This commentary explores the recent decision of Re MA (Care Threshold) in which the Court of Appeal, by a majority, upheld the decision of the trial judge not to make a care order. It questions the basis upon which the application was refused and, in particular, expresses concern about the interpretation placed upon the meaning of the word ‘significant' in section 31 of the Children Act 1989. It also explores the appropriateness and potentially damaging impact of statements made in the Court of Appeal about the use of physical punishment and the perceived need to show cultural sensitivity.
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