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Transparency Project: Family Court Reporting Watch – Weekly Round-Up, No.13

round-up-courtesy-flickr-lauri-heikkinen-1080x675The purpose of this update is to correct, clarify and comment on media reports of family court cases, to explain and comment on published Judgments of family cases and to highlight other transparency news.

Media Reports of Family Courts Case and Family Justice Issues

The Daily Mails ‘forced vaccination’ headline implies some excessive, inappropriate state interference with families. The published judgment (the Daily Mail don’t link to) shows otherwise, revealing a local authority taking care to ensure it sought judicial permission, based on medical evidence, before vaccinating a child in its care where his mother objected.

The vaccination issue arose in care proceedings that were not about vaccinations at all. Barnet held an interim care order but applied for a declaration (under the inherent jurisdiction), that it was in the baby’s best interests to be vaccinated. McDonald J confirmed that given the gravity of the issue in dispute, it [was] not appropriate for the local authority simply to … consent to immunisation pursuant to the provisions of s 33(3) of the Children Act 1989 on the basis of its shared parental responsibility for SL under the interim care order (see A Local Authority v SB, AB & MB) [2010] 2 FLR 1203 and Re Jake (Withholding Medical Treatment) [2015] EWHC 2442 (Fam)).

Following a series of High Court cases where declarations have been made that it is in a child’s best interests for them to be vaccinated, against their own or their parents’ wishes, McDonald J found, based on medical evidence, that the balance of risks firmly favoured immunization. (He was also at pains to point out that this was a decision about one child’s best interests based on [the] very particular circumstances of the case, not a comment on the merits of vaccination more widely nor how the issue should be approached in other situations).

(The mother had filed no statement of evidence & produced no medical records to support her contention that his older siblings had had adverse reactions. A single joint medical expert considered the medical records of the child and siblings before reporting).

Media reports we found notably balanced, accurate or otherwise helpful to transparency this week

The Daily Mail’s Court of Protection explainer : “What is the Court of Protection?”

Newly Published Cases for Explanation or Comment

In case you missed these blogs this week…

In other transparency news

  • The ALC have published an open letter to Liz Truss making some key points on cross-examination of children and adults by alleged perpetrators of abuse in family cases and offering assistance to the much welcome review.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr with thanks to Lauri Heikkinen

This post originally appeared on the Transparency Project blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks.

1 Comment

  1. daveyone1

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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