Family analysis: Following A Local Authority v F and others  EWHC 451 (Fam),  All ER (D) 68 (Mar) Gemma Taylor QC, of 42 Bedford Row Chambers, explains the circumstances under which a local authority can be absolved of its duties to consult with a parent and provide information.
What are the practical implications of this case?
The decision in A Local Authority v F and others
highlights that in any application to remove a party to proceedings, to limit disclosure to a party and to absolve the local authority from its statutory obligation to consult them, however grave the circumstances, that party must be given notice of the application and have some idea of the case against them.
As a preliminary consideration in such circumstances, the court should decide what documents should be disclosed to that party. The court in A Local Authority v F and others
exercised its case management powers under the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010) 4.1, so that the parents were served with redacted applications and a covering letter. Once the father had responded in writing to the court, a redacted bundle was served on him. The decision also highlights that disputes about the ambit of disclosure should be framed in terms of the need to identify, evaluate and weigh the various European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) rights that are in play. In this case, ECHR Arts 6 (right to a fair trial) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life) rights were engaged.