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A Local Authority v EF & Ors [2023] EWFC 178

News | Wed 8th Nov, 2023

Laura Hibberd acted for the children through their Guardian throughout care proceedings in this case. Laura was instructed by Gemma Hodder at Miles and Partners.

The local authority initially commenced proceedings due to concerns that the mother was exaggerating the children’s needs and perceived they had disabilities which professionals had not corroborated. The father had made a separate Child Arrangements Application, having not seen his children for several years. Within those proceedings the mother had made very serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse. At the final hearing the court conducted a fact-finding exercise and found her allegations to be false and malicious.

The case was characterised by complaints from the mother, which was a significant feature in the final hearing. It made it very hard for professionals to help the family and undertake important work with the children. Even following the children’s removal from their mother’s care during proceedings, the concerns escalated after tracking devices and 4 mobile phone handsets were found in one of the child’s school uniform, the court held the mother had encouraged, enabled or instructed the child to obtain these and conceal them from professionals.

At the final hearing, the court accepted the case put on behalf of the Guardian that several of the complaints were made by the mother pretending to be her oldest child. The court found the mother made a number of unreasonable and excessive complaints. The judgment requires the mother, whenever she makes a future complaint, to disclose that she makes unjustified complaints against professionals to manipulate, frighten and browbeat them to do what she wants.  

The court also agreed with the Guardian’s request, supported by the Local Authority, for non-molestation orders to continue for the children and s91(14) orders to be made.

Read the full judgment here.

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