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RE R (A CHILD ) sub nom CP v (1) AR (2) CR (A CHILD BY HIS GUARDIAN)

A judge had erred in making a residence order in respect of an eight-year-old child in favour of his paternal grandparents where he had failed to grapple with the fundamental proposition that children have a right to be brought up by their natural parents unless their welfare positively demanded the replacement of that right, and further had lost sight of the fact that he was removing the child not only from his mother's care but depriving him of family life with his half-brother.

12 May 2009

The appellant mother (M) appealed against a decision of the judge to make a residence order in respect of her eight-year-old son (R) in favour of his paternal grandparents. Following the separation of M and the first respondent father (F), R had lived with M. He was their only child. After the parties divorced, M remarried and had another child. F subsequently began proceedings seeking contract and residence orders and the second respondent guardian was appointed for R. It was a feature of the case that M and F were implacably hostile to each other. The guardian was granted leave to instruct an expert child psychologist (Z) to compile a report. Z took the view that R's involvement in the parental battle would have a high risk of progressively increasing his negative and aggressive behaviours, of inducing an increasingly negative self image and of causing him to have relationship difficulties, and that if M and F did not act to form a constructive and stable agreement about the futur...

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