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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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CARE: Re B (Sexual Abuse)
Date:29 JAN 2008

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe and Wilson LJJ and Black J; 29 January 2008)

In the fact-finding stage of care proceedings the judge found that he could not conclude that there was no real possibility that the father had abused the child, and that there was a real possibility that he had. At a later stage the judge stated that, although he wished to, he could not reach the conclusion that there was a real possibility that a child in the father's care would be sexually abused by him, and that the mother would do nothing effective to prevent a child in her care from suffering sexual abuse; he was constrained by authorities requiring him to reach the opposite conclusion. The children's guardian appealed.

The appeal was dismissed, on the basis of settled authority; however, very difficult and important issues had been raised, and the children's guardian was granted permission to appeal to the House of Lords