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Mother loses appeal against contact order

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A mother has lost her appeal against an order prohibiting contact between her and her newborn baby.

In W (A Child), a local authority had applied for the order under section 34(4) of the Children Act 1989. This states that:

“On an application made by the authority or the child, the court may make an order authorising the authority to refuse to allow contact between the child and any person…named in the order.”

The application was made, along with an interim (temporary) care order, due to concerns about the baby’s father, who had a record of violent behaviour and had made threats against the local authority, while the mother was seen as submissive to him.

The court granted the order at the first hearing and mother and child were separated an hour after the baby’s birth. The order was set for review after 16 days.

The mother’s appeal was dismissed. Courts were entitled to make rapid decisions in “emergency situations” based on the available evidence, and it was “unthinkable” for the court to interfere.

“It would be quite impossible to say that the judge’s conclusion was plainly wrong,” said Lord Justice Thorpe.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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