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Judge agrees natural father should not be given notice of care proceedings

A natural father need not be given a copy of a notice of care proceedings where this would create a risk for the mother, HHJ Bellamy has ruled in the Family Court.

A local authority had applied for care orders for three children aged under 10, the father of the eldest ‘X” being ‘CD’. It sought an order that CD should not be sent a copy of Form C6A, normally sent to anyone believed to be a parent but without parental responsibility for the child.

Evidence put to the court said CD had assaulted, threatened and harassed the children’s mother.

The judge decided against CD’s having Article 8 rights to family life concerning Child X.

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Manchester City Council Child Protection Lawyers

In CD (Notice of care proceedings to father without parental responsibility) [2017] EWFC 34 HHJ Bellamy said: “His father has been and continues to be a peripheral character in his life. There is no close personal relationship between them and in reality there never has been. In my judgment CD’s relationship with X does not have sufficient constancy and substance to suggest the existence of de facto family ties.”

Failure to engage Article 8 also meant that Article 6, on the right to a fair trial, was not applicable to the case.

The judge found for the local authority, saying: “I have accepted the mother’s evidence of domestic violence. I have accepted that she lives in fear of CD finding her and making threats to her. I have noted that CD has a long criminal record and is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for an offence of violence.

“I have expressed doubt about whether those facts would have been sufficient to justify an order that CD should not receive a copy of Form C6A had he been entitled to the protection of Article 8. In light of my finding that CD does not have Article 8 rights with respect to X, are those facts sufficient to justify a decision that CD should not be served with Form C6A? In my judgment they are.

“I am satisfied that, if CD became aware of these proceedings, that would give rise to a degree of risk to the mother and her family, albeit that I assess that risk and its consequences as being no more than moderate.”

Mark Smulian

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