Esther Maclachlan successfully appeals a final care order, acting for the mother in the Court of Appeal

News | Fri 26th Aug, 2016

Esther Maclachlan successfully appeals a final care order, acting for the mother in the Court of Appeal. Tara Vindis, also at 9 Gough Chambers, was instructed on behalf of the Guardian for the Court of Appeal hearing.

This is the second successful appeal in these protracted and unusual care proceedings which commenced in 2014.

Following the initial final hearing before a District Judge the court ordered the child was to be placed for adoption. At this stage Esther was instructed and following a successful appeal, heard by HHJ Purkiss, the matter was the remitted for a fresh hearing.

In November after a contested hearing the Recorder ordered the child should be rehabilitated to the mother. The rehabilitation plan did not progress as had been envisaged by the court and the mother argued she had not been properly supported by the Local Authority. Nevertheless the child was returned and settled in her care.

In March following a further contested hearing the Recorder ordered that the child should be removed from her care and relied on four incidents which had occurred since December to explain the change of tide. Despite the Local Authority arguing for adoption the care plan set out a plan for long term foster care. The Recorder ordered the child should be placed in long term foster care with contact six times a year.

In the Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Black, Mr Justice Tomlinson and Mr Justice Lindblom accepted all the submissions made on the mother’s behalf by Esther Maclachlan that the Recorder had failed to give proper weight to the circumstances surrounding the incidents which had led to his change of heart. He had failed to put these into context. Furthermore he had been led into error by the unclear and confusing care plan which was inchoate.

The matter has been transferred to the High Court and a rehearing has been listed.

Click here for the judgement.

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