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Family Law

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14 JAN 2014

WITHDRAWAL OF CARE PROCEEDINGS: Hertfordshire County Council v H [2013] EWHC 4049 (Fam)

(Family Division, Parker J, 5 July 2013)

Care proceedings were initiated in relation to the 6-month-old child due to the mother's history of mental health difficulties including depression and attempts at suicide, including one attempt when the child was 2 days old. The child had also experienced two life threatening events which professionals were concerned might have been deliberate traumatic incidents.

Medical evidence indicated that although trauma could not be excluded it could not be established on the balance of probabilities. The local authority had based its threshold case on the medical injuries but accepted that without specific findings the other grounds involving the mother's mental health issues would not satisfy the threshold, particularly with regard to the level of support on offer to the mother. An application was made to withdraw the care proceedings.

The guardian was hesitant about the withdrawal of proceedings but left the matter to the court.

The judge found that on the evidence before the court there was no prospect of the local authority being able to establish the threshold. Taking into account the guardian's concerns, the application would be granted.


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