A mother found to have fabricated serious allegations about her family has won her appeal against sharing parental responsibility with her local council.
In Re W, care proceedings began not long after the birth of her 21 month old child, but the mother and child continued living together, initially in foster placements. She claimed to have been subjected to physical and sexual abuse by members of her family, raising concerns about whether she would be able to protect the baby from her relatives.
Later, however, he said she had invented the allegations, and there was therefore no risk to her child from the family. However the local authority was unconvinced and a fact finding hearing was held. This concluded that she had told lies and invented allegations, and was continuing to do so. Her motives were thought to be aggressive.
As a result the judge at a subsequent welfare hearing said there was a risk that the mother’s erratic behaviour could cause the child emotional harm. The woman required supervision by the social workers, he said, and help with her mental health issues. The judge said the child should stay with her but that she would have to share parental responsibility with the local authority.
She successfully appealed, claiming the order was excessive and not based on sufficient evidence. The Court of Appeal agreed that not enough evidence had been presented to properly assess the advantages and disadvantages of involvement by the local authority.