Androulla Nicolaou, solicitor in our Family Department, along with Jayne Harrill and Tim Potter of Four Brick Court Chambers, were instructed to represent the Father in the Fact-Finding Hearing in care proceedings in the case of Re SK (Perplexing Presentation/Fabricated or Induced illness: PP/FII)  EWFC 144.
The matter was heard in the High Court on 21 September 2022 and the judgment was handed down on 24 October 2022.
This is a significant, complex case concerning allegations against the Mother of fabricated or induced illness (‘FII’). The case concerns three children, (‘A’), (‘B’), and (‘C’). The Local Authority applied for interim care orders for the three subject children in July 2020. In June 2021, A was made subject of a final care order and subsequently was made subject to a Deprivation of Liberty Order in August 2021. B and C continued to live with the Mother.
The focus of the Local Authority’s allegations was that the Mother had falsified and exaggerated the children’s medical conditions which had subsequently caused an over-medicalisation of B and C.
Numerous experts were instructed to aid the case including, a paediatrician, a Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon, a psychiatrist, and a psychologist. Notably, the paediatrician raised the possibility that the Mother had fabricated or exaggerated the symptoms of the children’s conditions and in doing so had harmed them.
The Court noted that features of the Mother’s conduct had been inappropriate and harmful to the children. Additionally, the Court found that at times the Mother had exaggerated or embellished some of the children’s issues.
Nevertheless, the Court did not find that the ‘threshold’ test as per S31(2) Children Act 1989 was satisfied. The Court stated that there were considerable evidential difficulties in the Local Authority’s allegations. Moreover, the Court found that there was no direct evidence that the children suffered any significant harm that could be attributed to the Mother or her parenting. Thus, save for three of the Local Authority’s findings, the Court did not find that the threshold test was crossed.
The case is listed for a final hearing next month.