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CARE PROCEEDINGS/HUMAN RIGHTS: Re J (Care: Assessment: Fair Trial) [2006] EWCA Civ 545

Date:11 MAY 2006

(Court of Appeal; Wilson and Richard LJJ and Bennett J; 11 May 2006) [2006] The Times June 21

Good practice in care proceedings had been set out in Re L (Care: Assessment: Fair Trial) [2002] EWHC 1379 (Fam), [2002] 2 FLR 730 by Munby J. While it was clear that minor departures from good practice should be rooted out and exposed by the court, such minor failures did not necessarily amount to breaches of human rights. The precepts in Re L should not be used as a bandwagon to derail care proceedings from their prompt travel towards necessary conclusions referable to and in the interests of the child. Had Re V (Care: Pre-Birth Actions) [2004] EWCA Civ 1575, [2005] 1 FLR 627 been cited to the judge, a tighter rein would have been kept upon the forceful attempts on behalf of the mother to divert the focus of the hearing towards the alleged failures by the local authority to observe those precepts.