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LexisPSL Family, 06 DEC 2018

Approach to delay caused by concurrent criminal proceedings

Approach to delay caused by concurrent criminal proceedings
What can the family courts do in care proceedings to avoid delay caused by criminal proceedings and the acts and omissions of other government departments or agencies? Dorian Day, barrister, of 3 Paper Buildings, examines the practical implications of the decision in Re H (Children) for family law practitioners. 
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What are the practical implications of the judgment?

The way is open for practitioners to apply to the court to use the witness summons procedure to obtain information and explanations as to decision-making from other government agencies and bodies. In this case it was with reference to the police and housing agency.

What was the background?

The case concerned two children—a baby girl, who was six weeks old when she sustained life-threatening and life-changing injuries, and her two-year-old brother.

The local authority and the police were concerned that the girl's injuries could have been caused by her having been shaken. The girl was placed in foster care and the boy was placed with the maternal grandparents.

The local authority commenced care proceedings, and at a fact-finding hearing the judge found that the father was responsible for causing the injuries. The mother was wholly absolved of any responsibility.

The judge was in support of the older brother being returned to the mother’s care as there were absolutely no risks or welfare concerns.

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Dorian Day (instructed by Rachel Carter, of Wollen Michelmore) appeared for the mother in this case. Interviewed by Robert Matthews.

The views expressed by our Legal Analysis interviewees are not necessarily those of the proprietor.