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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Children awarded £20,000 damages as council care criticised for 'inordinate delay'

Written by The Press Association

Two children who were taken into care have won a family court damages fight after a judge criticised the way a council had handled their case.

Judge Stuart Farquhar said the youngsters - a boy, 12, and his 11-year-old sister - should each get £20,000 from West Sussex County Council.

The judge said social services bosses had breached the youngsters' human rights.

He said their mother should also get £5,000 damages because her human rights had also been breached.

Staff had taken more than two years to ask a judge to make decisions about the children's long-term futures, said Judge Farquhar.

The judge said there had been "inordinate delay".

He said staff had also failed to promote contact between the children and their mother and the council had wrongly "purported" to exercise parental responsibility.

Lawyers for the children and their mother had launched damages claims after complaining that Articles 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - which protect the right to a fair trial and the right to respect for family life - had been breached.

Council bosses had disputed the damages claims.

Judge Farquhar said the children - who have links to Jamaica - had now been placed into long-term foster care.

The judge announced damages decisions in a ruling after analysing evidence at a private family court hearing in Brighton.

He did not identify anyone involved.

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