Law Report: Relevant time for care order conditions to be satisfied: Re M (a minor; Care order conditions). House of Lords (Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Chancellor, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Slynn of Hadley and Lord Nolan) 21 July 1994.

The conditions in section 31(2) of the Children Act 1989, on which the court's jurisdiction depended before it could make a child care or supervision order, would normally need to be satisfied as at the date when the order was first applied for, rather than at the date of the court's hearing.

The House of Lords allowed an appeal by M's father, reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal ((1994) 2 WLR 200) and restored the decision of Mrs Justice Bracewell, on 12 February 1993, making a care order in favour of the local authority in respect of M and substituting a residence order in favour of Mrs W.

Allan Levy QC and Elizabeth Gumbel (Meaby & Co) for M's father; Roger Hayward-Smith QC and Laura Harris (Hudgell & Partners) for Mrs W; James Munby QC and Sandra Graham (David Atkinson, Woolwich) for Greenwich London Borough Council.

LORD MACKAY LC said M's mother was of a Jamaican family but born in England. She already had, by two other fathers, a son born in 1984 and twins born in 1987 when, in 1990, she married M's father, a Nigerian. M was born on 28 June 1991.

Tragedy struck on 12 October 1991, when the father, with a meat cleaver and a knife, brutally murdered the mother at her home in the presence of all four children.

Emergency proceedings were taken to protect the children. The other three children were placed with Mrs W, the mother's cousin, who was granted a residence order.

M was placed with a short-term foster mother, where he remained until November 1993 when, following the Court of Appeal's judgment, he also went to Mrs W. He had lived there since and had settled down well.

The question was whether the requirements of section 31(2) of the Children Act 1989 had been satisfied. This provided: 'A court may only make a care order or supervision order if it is satisfied (a) that the child concerned is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm; and (b) that the harm, or likelihood of harm, is attributable to (i) the care given to him if the order were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give to him.'

The judge concluded that these requirements were satisfied. She found M was suffering significant harm in that he had suffered ill-treatment by being permanently deprived of his mother's love and care when she was murdered in his presence, and that significant harm was attributable to the care given to M by his father not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give him.

She was further satisfied that if an order were not made, M would be likely to suffer significant harm in that he was a small child with special needs, had no permanent home, and the only person with parental responsibility was the father, who was unable to exercise it appropriately or fully because he was serving a life sentence with an order of deportation on release. But the Court of Appeal concluded there was no material before the judge entitling her to find that, at the date of the hearing, M was suffering significant harm of the relevant kind, and held that the threshold conditions of the section were not satisfied.

In his Lordship's opinion, however, the opening words of section 31 linked the making of the order by the court very closely with the application to the court by a local authority or authorised person. The natural construction of the conditions in section 31(2) was that where, at the time the application was to be disposed of, there were in place interim arrangements for the child's protection by the local authority, which protection had been continuously in place for some time, the relevant date with respect to which the court must be satisfied was the date at which the local authority initiated those arrangements.

If, after a local authority had initiated protective arrangements, the need for these terminated, because the child's welfare was satisfactorily provided for otherwise, it would not be possible in any subsequent proceedings to found jurisdiction on the situation at the time of initiation of these arrangements; it was permissible only to look back from the date of disposal to the date of initiation of protection where local authority arrangements had been continuously in place.

LORD TEMPLEMAN, LORD JAUNCEY, LORD SLYNN and LORD NOLAN concurred.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'Bring It On' actress says her legal team will combat the 'vultures'
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
News
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
people
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam