The Court of Appeal recently ruled that a mother whose child was taken into care unnecessarily was not entitled to compensation under human rights legislation.
She reported concerns about episodes in which the child had apparently stopped breathing. The hospital consultant who saw the child was worried that it was a case of ‘fictitious illness’ and contacted social services. Because the events occurred during the Christmas holiday, the local authority did not consider that a family court could be convened in time to make an emergency protection order and so arranged for the child to be taken into foster care on an emergency basis. The child was later allowed home with the mother after she attended the mother and baby unit.
The mother of the child sued the council for damages, arguing that it had breached her rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.
Although the Court of Appeal accepted that the council had overestimated the risk to the child and expressed every sympathy for the mother, it concluded that this did not mean that the ‘protective measures were wrongly taken’.