(Court of Appeal, Black, Rafferty, Floyd LJJ, 18 December 2013)
The local authority became involved with the, now 9-year-old, child due to concerns about the mother's capacity to parent as a result of her alcohol use. A supervision order was put in place but the child had to be accommodated by the local authority after the mother had a serious fall. Prior to this she had also found it difficult to manage the child's behaviour.
During care proceedings the mother, influenced by her partner, refused to accept the authority of the court and did not comply with orders. A final care order was granted and the mother appealed.
The Court of Appeal found that the judge at first instance had not prejudiced the mother by refusing to permit certain witnesses to be called. This decision had been proportionate to the issues and evidence already submitted. The Court of Appeal also rejected the mother's assertion that the judge should have adjourned proceedings for a further assessment as the mother had not sought one and the assessments before the court were already comprehensive. An assessment had not been necessary.
On the evidence before the judge he was entitled to make the findings he did and his reasoning for making a care order was adequately explained. The appeal was dismissed.