The respondent authority had removed the child from the mother at birth but without first obtaining any court authority. The court had made a peremptory order for the return of the child. The court explained its actions.
Held: Neither social services nor health workers have power to remove a chid without a court order unless to protect against immediate violence. That power is reserved to police officers in restricted circumstances.
Munby J said: ‘The law is perfectly clear but perhaps requires re-emphasis. Whatever the impression a casual reader might gain from reading some newspaper reports, no local authority and no social worker has any power to remove a child from its parent or, without the agreement of the parent, to take a child into care, unless they have first obtained an order from a family court authorising that step . . ‘ There were two qualifications to this. First, a social worker, or indeed anyone else could intervene where necessary to protect a baby from immediate violence at the hands of a parent, not because of any special power or privilege, but because anyone was entitled to intervene in order to prevent an actual or threatened criminal assault. Second, section 3(5) of the 1989 Act allows a person actually caring for a child to do what is reasonable for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare, for example, when medical intervention is urgently needed.
 EWHC 152 (Admin),  1 FLR 1660
Children (Leaving Care) (England) Regulations 2001 8, Children Act 1989 3(5)
England and Wales
Cited – In re M (Care Proceedings: Judicial Review); In the matter of unborn baby M R; X and Y, Regina (on the Application of) v Gloucestershire County Council Admn 15-Apr-2003
Munby J said: ‘If a baby is to be removed from its mother, one would normally expect arrangements to be made by the local authority to facilitate contact on a regular basis . . Those arrangements must be driven by the needs of the family, not . .
Cited – Regina (J) v Caerphilly County Borough Council QBD 12-Apr-2005
The claimant sought a declaration that the council had failed in its duty to provide him with an independent personal adviser. The council had appointed the same person to act as his personal adviser and also to prepare the statutory assessment and . .
Cited – Regina v Felixstowe Justices ex parte Leigh CA 1987
The court considered the importance of the role played by the media in attending and reporting court proceedings. Watkins LJ said: ‘The role of the journalist and his importance for the public interest in the administration of justice has been . .
Cited – Regina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
Cited – Norfolk County Council v Webster and others FD 17-Nov-2006
There had been care proceedings following allegations of physical child abuse. There had been a residential assessment. The professionals accepted the parents’ commitment to their son, but also found that they were unreliable. It was recommended . .
Cited – Williams and Another v London Borough of Hackney SC 18-Jul-2018
On arrest for shoplifting a 12 year old said he had been doing so to get food, and that he had been hit with a belt by his father. Investigation revealed the home to be dangerous, and all eight children were removed to the care of the LA. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 August 2021; Ref: scu.264130