(Family Division; Hedley J; 27 May 2011)
A long-standing parental conflict over residence of and contact with child. The child had been made a ward of court and there was a question whether the wardship should be continued. Almost every aspect of the exercise of parental responsibility was in dispute. The judge treated the parents as having forfeited their parental responsibility to the court.
Wardship was unusual but remained permissible where needs of the child so required within a private law context. The court ought to retain this case within wardship. The residence order had assumed totemic status in the minds of the parties. The court needed to exercise control through detailed provisions of its order. The consequence of wardship was that care and control was in the gift of the court and parental responsibility rested in court. The child was to stay with the mother but time spent with father was to increase significantly. The father and mother each to have care and control in wardship during time child spent with them. Family assistance order made. Because wardship case, no s 91(14) order was made to restrain further applications, use of inherent powers instead.