Cases on threshold should be supported by facts – the impact of Re J (A Child) and Re A (A Child)

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The Court of Appeal has recently determined the appeal of a mother against a care and placement order regarding her 8 month old son in the case of Re J (A Child)  [2015] EWCA Civ 222. The parents disputed some of the matters relevant to the threshold criteria and argued at the appeal that the analysis and evaluation of the local authority’s plan by the judge was not adequate. The appeal was allowed and the case was remitted to be heard by a different judge.


In his judgment Lord Justice McFarlane stated that the judgment in the first instance family court was “by a wide margin, wholly inadequate.


Lord Justice McFarlane also summarised and endorsed the matters highlighted by Sir James Munby in his judgment in Re A (A Child) [2015] EWFC 11.  In that case the President of the Family Division stated:


The second fundamentally important point is the need to link the facts relied upon by the local authority with its case on threshold, the need to demonstrate why, as the local authority asserts, fact A + B + C justify the conclusion that the child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm of types X, Y or Z.