Achieving best evidence and use in Children Act cases

This post began life as a paper delivered by Sarah Phillimore at the St John’s Chambers conference on 4th December 2014: ‘Family Justice: universal access and fair process’. It has been updated to take into account more recent case law; most particularly the case of A (A Child) [2015] and Re BR (Proof of Facts) [2015]. No […]

You can’t handle the Truth! Part 2

Local Authority misconduct and failure to meet the needs of children. In March 2021 Keehan J handed down judgment in the case of YY (Children: Conduct of the Local Authority) [2021] EWHC 749 (Fam) (26 March 2021)It lays bare the failures of the local authority in excruciating detail. The Head of Children’s Services admitted to […]

Fabricated and Induced Illness

This is a post by Sarah Phillimore. I was recently alerted to a Radio 5 Live Investigation into ‘Fabricated and Induced Illness’ [FII] in May 2019. I think this is a useful opportunity to explore FII in more detail for readers of this site. The history of Fabricated and Induced Illness [FII] Concerns that parents […]

Speaking to student social workers about the Law – and some other stuff

  On Monday 27th November 2017 I went to talk to some student social workers about the law around care proceedings  – how important it was for them to understand what the law demands. Without that understanding, social workers cannot analyse their cases effectively and they may not appreciate what kind of evidence they need […]

As if People Were Humans – Humanistic psychology in the Family Courts

– I am grateful for this guest post from Mansour Jumaa who discusses how the family courts could be more humane in their operation, by deriving benefit from the teachings, principles and practice of Humanistic Psychology.  “None of us are as smart as all of us”  (Japanese proverb) 1 Introduction 1.1 This brief article suggests that […]

Much, much more of this please: the Bridget Lindley OBE Memorial Lecture 2017

Who holds the risk, how risk is assessed and how brave or risk averse those who make decisions for children? This is a post by Sarah Phillimore  On March 9th 2017 Lord Justice McFarlane delivered the first of the Bridget Lindley OBE Memorial Lectures.  He began by paying tribute to the memory of Bridget Lindley […]

Adoption: A vision for change?

  This is a post by Sarah Phillimore On 27th March 2016 – Easter Sunday – the Department of Education released its policy paper setting out its vision for improving adoption rates. Broadly, it sets out progress re adoption since 2010, current challenges and how they will be met and the government’s vision for the adoption system […]

Going Off the Rails in Interesting Times

Why do so many care cases go wrong? What are the recent cases demanding? Proper evidence Proper thought about the evidence Collective responsibility For consideration of the importance of good evidence and how we secure it see the post  Achieving Best Evidence In Children Act cases   And why is it going to cause significant […]

What do we mean by proving something ‘on the balance of probabilities’ ?

  How and why do we have two different standards of proof in civil and criminal proceedings? ‘The balance of probabilities’ is the standard of proof used in all civil court proceedings, so includes care proceedings. The other standard of proof we use is the one in criminal cases which is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ […]