Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2013] All ER (D) 232 (Feb)
Neutral Citation: [2013] UKSC 9
Court: Supreme Court

Lord Hope DP, Lady Hale, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed and Lord Carnwath SCJJ

Representation Stephen Cobb QC and Justin Gray (instructed by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council) for the authority.
  Paul Storey QC and Martin Todd (instructed by Wollen Michelmore Solicitors) for JJ.
  Pamela Scriven QC and Ben Boucher-Giles (instructed by Leigh Turton Dixon) for DJ.
Judgment Dates: 20 February 2013


Care proceedings - Non-accidental injuries - Possible perpetrator - New family unit - Three-week-old child being found dead in parents' bed - Post-mortem examination showing that child had sustained fractures to ribs and bruising to different areas - Cause of death found to be asphyxia by obstruction of airways - Care proceedings being commenced after birth of second child and fact-finding hearing taking place - Judge rejecting parents' explanation of injuries and finding that fractures had resulted from deliberate act of physical abuse - Second child being removed from parents' care - Parents separating and mother forming new relationship in different area - Mother's new partner having sole care of two children from previous relationship - Mother giving birth to two further children - Local authority bringing care proceedings - Judge dismissing proceedings on basis that established facts regarding first child's physical injury could not support threshold finding in relation to new family - Local authority appealing - Court of Appeal upholding judge's decision - Authority appealing - .

The Case

Care proceedings Non-accidental injuries. The Supreme Court held that a finding of a real possibility that a person had harmed a child in the past was not, by itself, sufficient to establish the likelihood that that person would cause harm to another child in the future. Accordingly, by itself, an earlier finding of harm could not be relied upon to establish a likelihood of harm in the future for the purposes of s31 of the .

Practice Areas

If you are a LexisLibrary subscriber you can read more about this case here.