4 March 2021
NOTE: THIS IS A LIVE STREAM OF A FULLY REMOTE HEARING BEING HEARD ON MICROSOFT TEAMS
By Appellant’s Notice filed on 21 August 2020, Melanie Newman, in her capacity as a public interest journalist, applies for permission to appeal the order of Mrs Justice Roberts sitting at the Family Division at the Royal Courts of Justice dated 31 July 2020 whereby she refused her application to be provided with permission to access court documents in relation to public law proceedings concerning a child which concluded in October 2018 save for a limited number of documents.
The child was made the subject of a placement order by HHJ Hess when she was 4 years old. The Court of Appeal quashed the order on 20 February 2018 with the judgment of the Court holding that the judge had failed adequately to engage with the central allegation advanced by the local authority namely that the child was at risk of physical or emotional harm in her mother’s care. The matter was remitted to the Family Court but no retrial took place. Instead, the local authority no longer sought orders separating the child from her mother and with the result that the child returned to live with her mother where she remains to date.
The Appellant is seeking to investigate the case and in particular to look at how events unfolded which led to a local authority seeking permanently to separate a young child from her mother by way of a placement order, but who, a year later following the quashing of the placement order by the Court of Appeal, withdrew its application for a placement order and allowed the child to return to the care of her mother where she remains.