An appeal against the interim removal of a baby from the Mother following a contested hearing at which evidence was given by an expert who had carried out a short notice assessment without having met the Mother:
The court found that:
- It is unacceptable for an independent expert to be instructed in such a way for a hearing which was to have wide-ranging consequences for the child;
- The practice of the Local Authority preparing draft Facts and Reasons and not circulating them to the other parties amounted to failures with the process which significantly interfered with the most basic requirements of openness and transparency.
- The court’s views on the flaws in the process were specifically approved by the President of the Family Division.