Reported Case: EY (Fact-Finding Hearing)
The appeal was issued because the Local Authority had applied for a Care Order, and the Judge at the County Court found the threshold criteria for making orders under s.31(2) of the Children Act 1989 were not satisfied and dismissed the application. Therefore, the child was to return home, which neither the Local Authority nor the Children’s Guardian supported.
A central issue in the appeal involved the County Court judge's treatment of the expert Child and Adult Psychological report. How expert reports should be considered and dealt with in Judgments was extensively considered in the Court of Appeal’s commentary. The appeal was allowed on the Local Authority’s ground about this issue.
The Court of Appeal determined the Judge also erred by not completing the necessary overview of the evidence, and if he had, then there was a reasonable prospect of threshold being met.
There was also an appeal ground sought by the Local Authority about whether the Judge should have made additional findings of fact (to decide whether threshold was met). The Court of Appeal determined that an argument an appeal should be granted because a judge failed to make findings he was never asked to make is “hopeless”. The Local Authority was not successful in that argument.
The case was sent back to the County Court to be re-heard by another Judge.