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'Shocking' Abuse Followed by a 'Staggering' Ruling: Re MA (Care Threshold)

Date:5 FEB 2010

JOHN HAYES Barrister Zenith Chambers Leeds PROFESSOR MARY HAYES University of Swansea and JANE WILLIAMS Senior Lecturer University of Swansea

In Re MA (Care Threshold) [2009] EWCA 853 [2010] FLR (forthcoming) the Court of Appeal (by a majority) upheld a ruling by Roderic Wood J that the threshold criteria were not satisfied in relation to three young children. That ruling was made notwithstanding that a child who had been living in the same household (A) had been subjected to shocking and cruel treatment by the parents and their oldest child (M) had also been the victim of repeated assaults by the parents. Lord Justice Wilson dissented. He was unequivocal that he would have found the threshold established. Towards the conclusion of his detailed dissenting judgment he unburdened himself with the following remarks:

'Ever since just over two months ago I granted permission to appeal . . . I have been greatly troubled by this case. I have thought about it off and on throughout that period. My ultimate reaction as I write is identical to...

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