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(Court of Appeal, Ward, McFarlane LJJ, 30 August 2012)
Following the parents' separation there were ongoing private law proceedings in relation to their two children, now aged 15 and 12. Initially both lived with their father until he suffered a mental breakdown at which point the elder child moved to live with the maternal grandparents and was subsequently made subject to a residence order.
The younger child remained with his mother and step-father but due to concerns of emotional abuse by the step-father an interim care order was granted. The mother and step-father refused to co-operate with local authority due to a belief that they did not receive a fair hearing. A special guardianship order in favour of the maternal grandparents was made in relation to younger child.
The parents challenged the whole process and sought permission to appeal. Permission to appeal was granted. The local authority had changed its stance in relation to the younger child and failed to provide sufficient evidence for that conclusion. The course of proceedings needed to be re-examined.