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Council apologises to mother over unlawful restrictions on contact with children

Cumbria County Council has apologised to a mother who had unlawful restrictions placed on her level of contact with her three children, it has been reported.

Client LC engaged law firm Irwin Mitchell to bring the case and she has called on the council to change its procedures.

Irwin Mitchell said LC had a history of mental health problems and although it was recorded that she posed a low risk to both herself and her children, a 2016 child protection conference decided she should only have contact with two of her children under the supervision of her ex-husband.

The third child was in hospital and LC was only allowed to visit in communal areas.

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Manchester City Council Child Protection Lawyers

These restrictions remained in place for five months until removed by a family court judge.

Irwin Mitchell investigated a potential legal action for breach of human rights.

It said the council had apologised and admitted that its children’s services should not have advised that her contact with her children had to be supervised.

Associate solicitor Stephen Cardinal, who represented LC, said her human rights had been breached “not only in respect of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the obligation to respect her private and family life, but also in relation to Article 6 and her right to a fair trial.

“In our view, the decision to delay issuing care proceedings meant our client was simply unable to have her voice heard during this emotional situation.”

Irwin Mitchell argued that the council failed to take important information into account, such as the conclusions of medical experts that LC posed little to no risk to her children.

Lawyers also argued that necessary assessments were not undertaken by council professionals.

Cumbria did not respond to a request for comment.

Mark Smulian

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