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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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CARE PROCEEDINGS: Re L (Transfer of Residence)
Date:8 FEB 2012

(Family Division; HHJ Bellamy, sitting as a judge of the High Court; 20 December 2011)

A fact-finding hearing found that the parents were likely to be the perpetrators of non-accidental injuries to a 6-week-old baby. The mother was unwilling to accept the findings. The child placed with the maternal grandmother following discharge from hospital and mother and father had supervised contact. The maternal grandmother, at the mother's suggestion and with the father's agreement, removed the child to Ireland until she was ordered by the court to return him. The mother sought further medical tests to prove the injuries were due to an underlying medical condition. There was no medical evidence to indicate such condition.

The consultant forensic psychologist report was disregarded by the court as it strayed into areas beyond the psychologist's field of expertise and suggested medical conditions should be re-investigated, the report showed clear bias towards the mother. The local authority care plan for the child was to live with the paternal grandparents. The mother's refusal to accept the findings presented an ongoing risk.

The child was made a ward of court, declared to be habitually resident in England and transferred his residence to the father and paternal grandparents supported by a one year supervision order.  Prohibited steps orders were made restraining the mother or maternal grandmother from removing the child from the jurisdiction. There was sufficient reason to displace the staus quo of residence as there were real and actual risks to the child. The child was to spend 5 nights with the father and paternal grandparents and 2 with mother and maternal grandmother.