Re S (A Child: Adequacy of reasoning) [2019] EWCA Civ 1845

Monday 4 November 2019

Malek Wan Daud of Garden Court Chambers represented the respondent child by his children's guardian, instructed by Collins Solicitors. 

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The Court was concerned with trying to ascertain how a little boy suffered some bruising and a fracture to the arm. The injuries were noticed by nursery staff when he arrived at nursery. The Mother and her boyfriend (not the boy's father) who had care of the child denied causing the injuries and did not provide any explanation how the injuries occurred. 

The Judge, at the end of a 4 day fact finding hearing having heard evidence from a paediatric radiologist, paediatrician, 3 members of nursery staff, Maternal Grandparents, Mother and her boyfriend who was an intervenor, gave an extempore judgement.

The judgment was such that it was unclear whether the Judge found whether the injuries were inflicted or accidental. If accidental, it was unclear who inflicted them. Clarification was sought and provided namely that the injuries were inflicted and that they had been caused by the Mother and/or her boyfriend (they were in the pool of perpetrators) but it was difficult to reconcile the clarification and the contents of the extempore judgment. 

The Mother appealed.

The Court of Appeal found that there were inadequate reasons for the findings of fact about the injuries to the child. The Court of Appeal also found that although there was some evidence that could justify findings, it was impossible for court to fill in gaps that might lead to a different conclusion.

The Court of Appeal also re-iterated the process required for the Court to come to a conclusion that injuries were caused by persons in a pool or perpetrators (a process not carried out by the trial Judge).

The full judgment is available to view here: Re S (A Child: Adequacy of reasoning) [2019] EWCA Civ 1845 

Malek Wan Daud is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Family Team

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