S (a child) and others by their children's guardian v A Local Authority and others

Family proceedings Orders in family proceedings. In the course of care proceedings, a fact finding hearing was conducted to establish the perpetrator of non-accidental injuries to a child. Of a pool of three possible perpetrators, the judge exculpated two and found that there was insufficient evidence to state that the third was a potential perpetrator. The local authority was given permission to withdraw its applications. The children's guardian appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appeal in part. The permission to withdraw proceedings was set aside and a welfare hearing was directed to take place in circumstances where the judge had failed to address one of the critical welfare questions, had failed to consider some relevant evidence and had given no reasoned basis for having exculpated two of the possible perpetrators.

Re HJ (a child) (Transfer of Irish Proceedings)

Family proceedings Care proceedings. The Family Division held that it was in the child's best interests for his future to be determined by the English court in circumstances where his parents had fled to Ireland shortly before his birth and he had been the subject of an Irish care order.

R (on the application of C) v Manchester City Council

Practice Adjournment of proceedings. The claimant 20-year-old with severe autism and associated learning difficulties sought judicial review of the defendant local authority's refusal to fund a residential placement at an independent specialist college for the 2012-13 academic year. The Administrative Court adjourned the proceedings, pending the outcome of a fresh decision by the authority on whether or not to fund a residential place for the claimant for the 2013-14 academic year.

Hickman v London Central Bus Company Ltd

Road traffic Motor vehicle. Following a road accident in which the claimant pedestrian was hit by a bus driven by the defendant company's employee, and as a result of which the claimant sustained head injuries, he claimed damages for personal injury. The issue before the court was that of liability. The Queen's Bench Division concluded that, whilst both parties were guilty of significant negligence and responsibility for the accident, the bus driver had been more culpable. Accordingly, there would be judgment against the defendant for 60% of the full value of the claimant's claim.

Loughlin v Singh and others

Damages Personal injury. The claimant was struck by a vehicle driven by the first defendant while riding his bicycle when he was 12 years old. He sought damages for the serious injury he suffered. The Queen's Bench Division, in assessing damages for past gratuitous care, future loss of earnings, and pain and suffering, held that the claimant did not have capacity to conduct litigation, and manage his property and affairs.

Re A (a child) (vulnerable witness)

Family proceedings Evidence. During the course of contact proceedings, an issue arose as to whether a vulnerable young adult should give evidence as to allegations of sexual abuse which she had made against the father in the proceedings. Having considered the psychiatric evidence, the Family Division judge held that an intermediary service would be instructed with a view to confirming the feasibility of requiring evidence to be given as well as to advise upon the 'special measures' which would be needed.

Hewitson v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and another; Shepherd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and another

Town and Country planning Development. The claimants, S and H, each applied for planning permission for the erection of a single wind turbine on a farm in Cumbria. The second defendant authority failed to determine S's application and refused H's application, subsequent to which S and H appealed to the first defendant Secretary of State. In dismissing the appeals, the inspector concluded in each case that the adverse impacts of the wind turbine would outweigh the benefits. The claimants applied under s288 of the for orders quashing the decisions of the inspector. In dismissing the applications, the Administrative Court held that the inspector had been entitled to determine S's application on the strength of the written representations made without taking into account what had been said during a site visit about the granting of planning permission by the authority for a smaller wind turbine nearby. It had been open to the parties to have written to her to ask for further information to be taken into account. Further, the reasons provided by the inspector had been entirely adequate to enable each claimant to know why the appeal had not succeeded.

*Re H-L (a child) (care proceedings: 'necessary' expert evidence)

Family proceedings Evidence. In the course of care proceedings, a mother applied for permission to instruct three expert witnesses. That application having been refused, she appealed. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, gave guidance on the meaning of 'necessary to assist the court to resolve the proceedings' as contained at r25.1 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010.

Bayliss v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and others

Town and Country Planning Planning permission. The third defendant developer had an application for planning permission for the construction of a wind farm refused by the second defendant local authority. An inspector appointed by the first defendant Secretary of State allowed the third defendant's appeal and granted planning permission. The Administrative Court dismissed the claimant local resident's application for judicial review as, inter alia, the inspector had not erred in the manner in which he had dealt with the harm to the nearby area of outstanding natural beauty that the proposed development would cause.

*Re B (a child) (care order)

Family proceedings Orders in family proceedings. The Supreme Court heard an appeal by the parents of a child, A, who had been the subject of a care order. The Court of Appeal had dismissed the appeal after it held that the threshold as set out in s31(2) of the had been crossed in the case and that a care order had been appropriate. The Supreme Court, in upholding that decision, considered: (i) aspects of the threshold to the making of a care order set by s31(2) of the Act; (ii) the application to the decision whether to make a care order of the requirement under art8 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950, that the nature of any interference with the exercise of the right to respect for family life had to be proportionate to its legitimate aim; and (iii) the boundaries beyond which it would be wrong for any appellate court to set aside the grant or dismissal by a trial judge of a local authority's application for a care order.