Judge rules that parents retain the care of their children


Judgment has been published in the recent Care Proceedings case of A City Council and AM, AF Y and Z [2019] EWHC 3076 (Fam) (27 June 2019). Mitali Zakaria, Head of the Family Law Department at ITN Solicitors acted for the Father in the proceedings. As a result in June 2019, final Care Orders were made in respect of the younger three children, and the Court provided limited protection to a seventeen year old child.

In the earlier linked case of Re Q, in which Mitali together with counsel, Chris Barnes, represented the same Father in the AM proceedings, Mrs Justice Knowles determined that there was no jurisdiction to make an interim or final care/supervision order once a young person has reached the age of seventeen.  As a result the child, ‘Q’ was no longer subject to an Interim Care Order.  The full judgment in Re Q can be found here and a blog post on the issue can be found here.

At the final hearing in AM in June 2019, Mrs Justice Knowles, found that the threshold criteria was crossed in relation to ‘Q’, however given her age (17 years old), she was no longer susceptible in law to the making of a Public Law Order. ‘Q’ does however remain a child in need, until she reaches the age of 18.

In respect of the younger three children, Mrs Justice Knowles was satisfied that Care Orders should be made and directed that the children should live with their parents.  In her judgment, at paragraph 34, she set out that:-

“Having evaluated all of the material in the bundle, and listened to the submissions made, I am satisfied that care orders are a proportionate and necessary response to the risks posed to A, B and C. The plan provides for the children to live with their parents, but that place is within the care of adults and in a family environment, where they continue to be at risk of significant emotional and developmental harm, by reason of their parent's radicalised beliefs. Further, the agreed threshold criteria make plain the parents' support for the radicalised beliefs, apparently adopted by Y, who also continues to live in the family home. The mitigation of risk cannot be met, in my view, by the making of supervision orders, which lack powers for the Local Authority to regulate and determine, in consultation with the parents, the extent to which the parents may meet their parental responsibility of the children.”

Mrs Justice Knowles further stated that the conclusion to the Section 31 proceedings relating to Re Q, demonstrated why in some cases, Public Law proceedings, might properly continue, even though a child has reached the age of 17 and may no longer in law be made subject to a Public Law Order.

The full Judgment delivered by Justice Knowles can be found here.

If you require assistance in care proceedings or in any other family law matter, contact our family team today.

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