(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Rafferty LJJ, Norris J, 16 May 2012)
The mother suffered from mental health difficulties and the father had been violent towards her as well as one of the children. When the parents separated the local authority initiated care proceedings and the judge made care and placement orders on the basis of a number of uncertainties in any program of rehabilitation for the mother and children.
The mother's appeal was allowed. The judge's function was to assess any potential uncertainties, not merely to list them. He had departed from the evidence and recommendations of the experts without giving clear and cogent reasons for doing so.