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The Local Authority and the issue of child protection case focus

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The Local Authority have a duty to protect children and the case of CN and GN v Poole Borough Council [2017] EWCA Civ 2185 reminds us of the importance of this.

Our Care Team at Emery Johnson Astills have the expertise to assist in a wide range of Child protection matters from initial advice, representation at Conferences with the Local Authority and professionals to representation at Court in relation to Care Proceedings.

The Local Authority have their duties set out in law, namely the Children Act 1989. For more information relating to the specific duties of the Local Authority please visit the following link to be directed to another article on our website:

https://www.johnsonastills.com/site/blog/ejablog/what-are-the-duties-of-the-local-authority

The case of CN and GN v Poole Borough Council [2017] EWCA Civ 2185 involved two children, one of whom suffered from serve learning difficulties and tried to commit suicide.

It was alleged that the Local Authority were negligent because they were aware of the family, the issues they faced and did not take protective measures to intervene and remove the children from their family home.

This matter was heard by the Court of Appeal and it was held that the Local Authority failed to meet Threshold. Threshold is the legal test that must be satisfied before the Court can make any order relating to the children and the test has to parts that must be satisfied with the necessary evidence.

The Court must be satisfied that there is evidence to show that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child is suffering significant harm or is at risk of suffering significant harm. In addition to this, the making of the Order is in the child’s best interests and no other order will do.

According to The Law Society Gazette, many cases have been affected by the decision in CN and GN v Poole Borough Council [2017] EWCA Civ 2185 including failure to remove children at risk, the premature removal of children and child sexual exploitation and grooming cases.

Due to the controversial nature of the Court of Appeal’s decision the matter was appealed to the Supreme Court which is the final Court of Appeal for civil cases in the United Kingdom and we are currently awaiting judgement. 

It is rumoured that the Supreme Court will restrict the Local Authority’s duties contained within the Children Act 1989. This would place the Local Authority in a strong position and it would be difficult to criticise the Local Authority where Child protection is concerned. It is hoped that the awaited Supreme Court ruling reinforces the importance of protecting children and imposes a duty of care upon the Local Authority to ensure that they are safe as children one of the most vulnerable groups in society.

If you would like to discuss the contents of this article and/or require legal representation in relation to Child Law matter please do not hesitate to call our Care Team at Emery Johnson Astills on 0116 255 4855 (Leicester office) or 01509610312 (Loughborough office) or email us at careteam@johnsonastills.com.