(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Hooper and Richards LJJ; 22 November 2007)
The three children had been living with the paternal grandmother and aunt because of the mother's alcoholism. The mother, who was currently abstinent, sought the return of the children. The social worker and the CAFCASS officer both gave evidence that the mother tended to put her own emotional needs before those of the children. The mother was nonetheless granted a residence order, and the father appealed on the basis of the judge's failure to give proper weight to the evidence from the social worker and the CAFCASS officer.
Ideally the judge would have separated out the two issues of the mother's alcoholism and the mother's tendency to put her own emotional needs above those of the children, but the judge's treatment of the two together could not result in a successful appeal.