Lancashire County Council and Another v B and Others; Lancashire County Council v A: HL 16 Mar 2000

A seven month old child had been injured, but it was not possible to establish whether this had taken place whilst with her parents or with a child minder. The Council brought care proceedings also for the minder’s own child B.
Held: Even though the parents could not be held responsible, the threshold conditions which would allow proceedings for a care order to be begun were established. To require proof of who had committed the abuse would make it frequently impossible for the authorities to act to protect children. The phrase ‘care given to the child’ did not require restriction to the care given by the parents or by a particular person. ‘Different considerations from the norm apply in a case of shared caring where the care given by one or other of the carers is proved to have been deficient, with the child suffering harm in consequence, but the court is unable to identify which of the carers provided the deficient care. In such a case, the phrase ‘care given to the child’ is apt to embrace not merely the care given by the parents or other primary carers; it is apt to embrace the care given by any of the carers.’


Lord Slynn of Hadley Lord Nolan Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead Lord Hoffmann Lord Clyde


Times 17-Mar-2000, Gazette 30-Mar-2000, [2000] UKHL 16, [2000] 2 AC 147, [2000] 1 FLR 583, [2000] 2 All ER 97


House of Lords, Bailii


Children Act 1989 31


England and Wales


CitedRe M (A Minor) (Care Orders: Threshold Conditions) HL 7-Jun-1994
The father had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the child’s mother. Application was made for the child to be made subject to a care order. The father appealed refusal of an order.
Held: When an application was made on the . .
CitedIn re G (A Minor)(Care Order: Threshold Conditions) FD 1995
The court considered the standard of evidence required to satisfy the threshold condition under the Act: ‘The inescapable construction of section 31, in my judgment, is that the court has to be satisfied by evidence that the significant harm . .
CitedIn re H and R (Minors) (Child Sexual Abuse: Standard of Proof) HL 14-Dec-1995
Evidence allowed – Care Application after Abuse
Children had made allegations of serious sexual abuse against their step-father. He was acquitted at trial, but the local authority went ahead with care proceedings. The parents appealed against a finding that a likely risk to the children had still . .
Appeal fromRe B and W (Minors), Lancashire County Council and Another v B and Others CA 27-Jul-1999
The threshold conditions for the making of a care order, relate to the absence of proper care of a child, and the suffering of significant harm whilst in care arrangements then prevailing. There was no requirement on the court that it be able to . .

Cited by:

CitedA Local Authority v A and D FD 5-Dec-2001
A five week old baby had been brought into hospital with cranial pressure. At first signs of injury were not seen. It was concluded that the child may have been shaken, and the child protection procedures began. No criminal proceedings were to take . .
DoubtedIn re O and N (Minors); In re B (Minors) (Care: Preliminary hearing) HL 3-Apr-2003
The appeals were from conflicting decisions in care applications where one or other or both parents were guilty of lack of care, but there was no evidence to say which was responsible.
Held: The threshold criteria had been met, and the court . .
CitedNorth Yorkshire County Council v SA and others CA 1-Jul-2003
The child was taken to hospital with injuries which the doctors concluded were non-accidental. The identity of the abuser was in doubt.
Held: The court set out to identify the procedures in cases involving suspected non-accidental injuries . .
CitedLancashire County Council v R (A Minor) and others FD 4-Dec-2008
The local authority sought a care order, alleging serious physical abuse of the child. The mother said that any injuries had been inflicted by the father. The father said that the cause was the mother.
Held: The injuries were not likely to . .
CitedIn re S-B (Children) (Care proceedings: Standard of proof) SC 14-Dec-2009
A child was found to have bruising consistent with physical abuse. Either or both parents might have caused it, but the judge felt it likely that only one had, that he was unable to decide which, and that they were not so serious that he had to say . .
CitedIn re J (Children) SC 20-Feb-2013
The mother had been, whilst in a previous relationship, involved in care proceedings after the death from physical abuse of her baby. Whilst being severely critical of her, the court had been unable to identify the author of the child’s death. Now, . .
CitedIn re J (Children) CA 3-Apr-2012
The mother JJ’s first baby had died after physical abuse inflicted either by her or the father. In care proceedings for a later child, the judge concluded ‘T-L’s injuries could have been inflicted by either, or both, of them. Singling out a likely . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 31 May 2022; Ref: scu.159050