Representing a Father with an Intermediary

Michael acted for a Father of a very young child. The Mother lacked capacity to conduct proceedings and was represented by the Official Solicitor. The Father was also initially found to lack capacity but an addendum psychological report concluded that he would be able to increase his involvement in the proceedings and even retain autonomy to instruct his solicitor if he had the support of an Advocate and an Intermediary.

At an early interim hearing the court refused to approve separation of Mother and child, and the Local Authority agreed to implement arrangements for a parent and child placement.

The Father applied for residential placement for himself, the Mother and the child, but this was refused. Viability assessments of other family members were negative, and the mother’s application to instruct an ISW to carry out a parenting assessment was also refused.

Before the date fixed for the final hearing the Mother left the mother and baby placement, and both parents, who had remained in a relationship throughout the proceedings, started to withdraw from attending contact.

The child was then placed in a “foster to adopt” placement.

The matter was listed for a four day final hearing but both parents (the Mother through the Official Solicitor) filed final statements confirming that, although they could not consent to adoption, they accepted they were not able to care for the child and did not actively oppose the Local Authority’s applications.

A Care Order and Placement Order were made, and the Parents’ consent dispensed with.