Alistair MacDonald QC and Rosalyn Carter have successfully resisted an appeal to the Court of Appeal concerning the removal of a child from the care of her mother using an interim care order in private law proceedings under the Children Act 1989.
The appellant Mother appealed the decision of the circuit judge to grant an interim care order and remove the child from her care following findings that the mother had made extensive false allegations against the respondent father, including false allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour towards the child.
Giving judgment in the case, currently reported as Re W (A Child)  EWCA Civ 772, the Court of Appeal considered that the conduct of the mother was inexcusable and highly damaging to the child and that, accordingly, the risk of further significant harm had had to be addressed by the court. Further, the Court of Appeal made clear that, given the prevalence of false allegations made by parents against each other in private law proceedings, such conduct should be understood to be serious child abuse that would usually necessitate intervention by a court. The Court of Appeal was satisfied that the judge had not only been required to consider his child protection duties and powers but had exercised them proportionately in circumstances where the only option realistically available to the judge was to remove the child from the mother’s care.
The full judgment can be found at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2014/772.html
Written by Mark Mansell