Processes and determining factors when family court judgments are made in England about infants entering care at birth
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law. 2021, 43 (4), 455-466. 10.1080/09649069.2021.1996082
This paper reports on the England part of a research project exploring judicial decision making in eight jurisdictions with respect to care applications in respect of new-born infants. Descriptive data are provided on a total cohort of 278 care applications made to three English family court care centres in 2016. Attention is paid to final orders made and findings are reported on differences between the three care centres with respect to the proportions of orders made (mainly placement orders; but also care orders and Special Guardianship Orders). A particular focus of the paper is on the ‘transparency’ of court processes as evidenced by the availability of transcripts of judgements. To add to the small proportion of cases (11%) where a transcript was available, 30 English judgements on new-borns reported to the BAILII data base in 2016 were also analysed. Differences were found between proportions of orders made when a judgement transcript was or was not available. It is argued that these results add to the call for greater transparency in the family courts.