(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Carnwath and Wall LJJ; 20 December 2006)
The test for removal of children from parents at an interim stage was not that there were reasonable grounds for believing that significant harm to the child was likely, but that the children's removal was necessary for their interim protection. In this case the elder child's independent wishes and feelings had to be put to the court for consideration. Given that the guardian, the only professional representative of the children, was urging removal, while the children, aged 13 and 11, were firmly in favour of remaining with the father, it was impossible for the children to feel that their views were being properly and eloquently put to the court. A solicitor had provisionally assessed the elder child as having the capacity to instruct her, but had not applied to the court for a direction for his separate representation, as she should have done, instead returning the issue to the solicitor acting for the guardian.