Kevin Skinner represented the applicant mother in Re M (A Child) [2015] EWFC 71.

The application followed successfully arguing that the mother’s Article 6 rights had been breached in the original set of care proceedings and therefore the findings made against her in that case had to be re-looked at by the court.  The earlier findings having left her in the pool or potential perpetrators in respect of a non-accidental injury suffered by her infact daughter.

In Re M, the President was asked to consider how the vulnerable mother’s case should be funded.  The LAA had taken the view that the mother was ineligible for non-means and non-merits tested funding.  However, the President accepted the argument advanced on behalf of the mother that the effect of her application had been to re-open the section 31 proceedings and that the new trial will necessarily involve a fresh and complete re-hearing of the local authority’s case on threshold. Accordingly the proceedings remain a special Children Act 1989 case in relation to which the mother is entitled to legal aid in accordance with paragraph 2 of The Civil Legal Aid (Merits Criteria) Regulations 2013, SI 2013/104.

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