Sir James Munby, who is the most senior family Judge in the country, launched an attack on social workers in Bristol who failed to inform the parents of two children, why their children were being adopted. The Judge also suggested that in future the same offence could carry a jail term.
In the case in question, the Local Authority workers were ordered to explain to the couple why their two children were being taken for adoption. The workers only released the information to the parents 45 minutes prior to the decision being made and finalised, giving the family no real hope of mounting a challenge in Court.
Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, stated that the social workers’ behaviour was “deplorable” and “symptomatic of a deeply routed culture in family Courts”. He accused the social workers of having a slap dash and lackadaisical attitude to Court Orders and stated that the parents who were facing the permanent loss of two children had been denied vitally important information. He also warned that in the future, there would be consequences to social workers, suggesting that they could be jailed for contempt if they failed to comply with a Court Order which is an offence that carries a sentence of up to two years imprisonment.
The President stated that non-compliance with Orders should be expected to have and will usually have a consequence and that non-compliance with an Order, any Order, by anyone is bad enough and it is a particularly serious matter if the default is a public body such as the Local Authority.
If you have Social Workers in your family life and need support, advice or further information, please contact our Family team at Ringrose Law.