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‘Failure to remove’ cases: when does the duty of care arise – and what is the impact on the family justice system?

Date:3 APR 2023
Third slide
May Martin Parklane Plowden
Hannah Whitehouse Barrister


This article looks at the effect of claims by children against local authorities for failing to commence care proceedings and leaving them in neglectful/abusive home environments. The claims received a new lease of life with the successful appeal in HXA v Surrey County Council and YXA v Wolverhampton City Council [2022] EWCA Civ 1196. The article explores the principles of negligence that have been used to formulate claims against local authorities and analyses those principles in the social work context specifically. The article identifies the uneasy transfer into the public sector of concepts such as assumptions of responsibility.

The article looks at the issue from a family law perspective asking what effect these claims are likely to have on local authorities. It recognises that there is immense pressure on the social work system and identifies the competing duties upon local authorities in the social work sphere. It looks at the decreasing numbers of s 20 placements and the increasingly risk-averse approach taken by local authorities.

The full article will be published in the March issue...

Read the full article here.