Parents awarded compensation after their children were unlawfully removed
In the case of Williams & Anon v London Borough of Hackney, a couple have foster successfully sued the local authority for removing their children and placing them into care.
The parents were awarded damages under the Human Rights Act and the removal of their children was deemed unlawful. The children were originally removed from their parents by the police following concerns about their care and then kept away for longer than the 72 hours permitted under a police protection order. The Local Authority involved stated that the parents had consented to the continued removal and the continued foster placement under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989.
However, in one of the first cases where damages have been awarded under the Human Rights Act in childcare proceedings, the Judge said that the parents had only consented because they were so distressed and feared that if they did not sign the agreement, that they would not see their children again. The judge further ruled that there was no evidence the parents were told to seek legal advice and that no valid consent was given. The judge said that although the initial separation was justified, it was unlawful for the authority to keep the children beyond 72 hours.
After two months the children were returned to their parents and each parent was awarded £10,000 in compensation.
Any case involving the removal of children is distressing and difficult for all involved. This case has highlighted the importance of seeking expert legal advice at the very first opportunity when facing such issues to ensure that parents are fully aware of their rights and to ensure that the children’s welfare is always the paramount consideration.
If you are going through such difficulties or have been told by the Local Authority that your children may be removed from your care, it is essential that you seek legal advice immediately. Our child care specialists can advise you on all matters so call today for immediate advice on 01782 262424 or email email@example.com.