Case Histories 2016 Volume 2 – Introduction

We publish 20 cases in this volume of our 2016 reports, bringing to 39 the number we have published this year. The reporting work of the Child Care Law Reporting Project this year is combined with qualitative research on lengthy and complex cases, which will be published next year.

We publish here reports on three exceptionally lengthy cases which took place over 68, 33 and 14 days respectively. The reports on these cases amount to almost 60,000 words. These cases reveal the difficulties that arise in certain cases, especially those involving allegations of child sex abuse, when there are disputes about the admissibility of hearsay evidence and Garda and other interviews with children are the subject of criticism. We hope that the State agencies involved in these cases can learn from these detailed reports.

Some of the cases continue to reveal the impact on children and young people of drug addiction and homelessness, which are often linked.

These reports also illustrate the fact that, once care proceedings are instituted, it is by no means inevitable that they will end with a full Care Order. In one case, where a young couple fled the UK in order to avoid their unborn child being taken into care, avoided not only a Care Order, but a Supervision Order, when their case was fully argued in court. In another case an Interim Care Order was granted, but it was made clear that the CFA envisaged the return of the three year old child to his parents when their circumstances permitted it.

We also publish reports of two judicial reviews relating to child care proceedings: in one a challenge to legal representation for guardians ad litem failed; in the other a decision to deny foster carers financial assistance in obtaining orthodontic treatment for the child in their care, which was reported by the CCLRP, was overturned by the High Court.