WALES/ENGLAND – Appeal to be heard of court’s termination of father’s parental responsibility

Court of Appeal will determine whether Section 4(2A) of Children Act is compatible with ECHR

The Court of Appeal has given permission to a father to appeal against an order, under s 4(2A) of the Children Act 1989, terminating his parental responsibility in respect of his 8 year old child.

In CW v SG [2013] EWHC 854 (Fam) Mr Justice Baker terminated the parental responsibility of SG in respect of D who was born to the parties in 2004.  In 2009 the respondent pleaded guilty to sexual offences committed on two of the applicant mother’s daughters and was sentenced to a total of 48 months imprisonment.

Prior to this case, the only reported case on the termination of parental responsibility dated back to 1995: Re P (Terminating Parental Responsibility) [1995] 1 FLR 1048 at 1053.  In that case Singer J allowed an application to terminate parental responsibility (acquired by a parental responsibility agreement) in relation to a father who had been sent to prison for causing serious injuries to his child. The judge held that the order was justified as the father had “forfeited” his parental responsibility and, in considering the merits of the application for parental responsibility in these circumstances, a court would not have granted the application.

Baker J determined that ‘Re P, whilst not strictly binding on this court, is a clear authority which points the way to be followed by the court considering its powers under what is now section 4(2A).’

The judgment in the appeal will be reported in due course. The High Court judgment can be read here.


SOURCE: Family Law Week

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