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M-F (Children) [2014] EWCA Civ 991 (15 July 2014)

4 members of 42 Bedford Row appear in a significant Court of Appeal case in which the President gives an unequivocal message: in a case not completed at 67 –  26 weeks is not a straight-jacket.

In a decision of the Court of Appeal comments made in Re S about the timescale for cases and the criteria to be applied in certain cases when a longer period for their ultimate determination is required. In Re  M-F concerned a child aged 10 removed from his mothers care due to a physical assault perpetrated on an older sibling by the mother. Despite judicial findings in this regard the mother continued to deny responsibility for the assault. The rate and extent of change in the mothers capacity to change her parenting style, develop insight into her actions and work collaboratively with professionals was in dispute. The case was adjourned in week 67 for a further period of 12 weeks, that hearing had been intended as the final hearing, being the fourth time a final hearing had been listed. In part the significance of this decision is the weight given to the careful case management decisions of a judges in the county court with strong judicial oversight of a long running care case.


18.07.2014