M & L (Children), Court of Appeal - Civil Division, September 30, 2008, [2008] EWCA Civ 1605

Resolution Date:September 30, 2008
Issuing Organization:Civil Division
Actores:M & L (Children)

Case No: B4/2008/1242

Neutral Citation Number: [2008] EWCA Civ 1605





Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: Tuesday, 30th September 2008






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IN THE MATTER OF M & L (Children)

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(DAR Transcript of

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Miss J Dodson (instructed by Messrs Ewings) appeared on behalf of the Appellant.

Miss E Lecointe (instructed by London Borough pf Southwark) appeared on behalf of the First Respondent.

Miss A Moore (instructed by Messrs Amphlett Lissimore) appeared on behalf of the Second Respondent.

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JudgmentLord Justice Wall:

  1. Before dealing with the facts I would, speaking for myself, like to express my gratitude to Miss Joanna Dodson QC, representing the mother this morning. When I first read the papers it struck me as being of the utmost importance that she should be represented in this application (inaudible) faced as she was with opposition from the local authority and the guardian. As it happens, we have not felt it necessary to call on the other parties to the proceedings, although we do have documents from them.

  2. This application concerns two small children, both of whom are boys. Earlier in the proceedings we imposed reporting restrictions. As a consequence, I will refer to them by initials only. They are respectively PM, born on 27 March 2006, and his full brother ML, born on 28 May 2007. Their mother, who is 40, seeks permission to appeal against orders made by HHJ Andrew, sitting in the Principal Registry of the Family Division. She placed both children in the care of the local authority. She also made placement orders under section 21 of the Adoption of Children Act 2002 in relation to both children. In order to be successful in her application for permission and in the subsequent appeal; the mother must seek the discharge of both the care and the placement orders.

  3. The mother's application for permission to appeal came before Ward LJ on 23 July 2008. He directed that it be heard on notice to the local authority, with the appeal to follow if permission was granted. We have a transcript of his judgment, to which I shall make further reference in due course.

  4. Although this appeal relates only to the two youngest children, PM and ML, the mother has a total of seven children - all boys. For present purposes, as Miss Dodson properly accepts, the only relevant father is a man called RM, who is the father not just of the two youngest children but also of CR. As I have already indicated, CR is 17 and it is thus apparent that the mother had a relationship with him (inaudible) RM some years ago and subsequently, many years later, has resumed it. I therefore refer to RM as ``the father''.

  5. The judge plainly knew the case well and she gave two lengthy judgments, both of which, in my judgment, repay careful study and go to explain the course which she took. She was, of course, only concerned with the four youngest children and, as I have already indicated, the older children are not the subject of this application for permission to appeal. Their care was at the end of the ultimate hearing adjourned by the judge for further hearing, which we are told took place on 3 December. We are concerned with the four youngest children. At paragraph 5 of the judgment which she gave on 26 September the judge set out some of the background:

    ``5. Every one of the children and the mother's circumstances have given cause for concern over the years. [WM] was received into care aged 5 years having been taken by the mother to her grandparents to live when she knew that she herself as a child had suffered sexual abuse by her grandfather. [WM] suffered likewise, and was removed from their care. In September 2003, [CR], [LF] [DM] and [QW] were placed on the Child Protection Register under the category of neglect (mother does not admit neglect in the threshold criteria document), there being reports that [CR] and [LF] were involved in criminal activities, were absconding from school, were caring for each other, and were running away from home.

  6. [DM], [QW] and [LF] were accommodated in January 2006, when the mother was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for importing cannabis valued at £33000 in which [CR] aged 15 was involved, in September 2005.

  7. In August 2006 the LA applied for ICOs in respect of [LF], [DM], [QW] and [PM] following [the father's] return to the mother, and their fears that the children were exposed to domestic violence. Subsequently. [LF] was made the subject of a care order in April 2007. I have not been privy to the papers in his case.

  8. [PM] was...

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