§ '(1) In subsection (12) of section 2 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 (right of relevant infant to appeal against order made in care proceedings) after the words "the relevant infant" there shall be inserted the words "or, in a case where a parent or guardian of his was a party to the care proceedings by virtue of an order under section 32A of this Act, the parent or guardian" and for the word "him" there shall be substituted the words "the relevant infant".
§ (2) In section 16(8) of that Act (appeals by the supervised person against supervision orders and dismissal of application to discharge such orders) after the words "the supervised person" there shall be inserted the words "or, in a case where a parent or guardian of his was a party to the proceedings on an application under the preceding section by virtue of an order under section 32A of this Act, the parent or guardian".
(3) After subsection (4) of section 21 of that Act (variation and discharge of care orders) there shall be inserted—
(4A) In a case where a parent or guardian is a party to the proceedings on an application under subsection (2) of this section by virtue of an order under section 32A of this Act, the parent or guardian may appeal to the Crown Court against the making of a supervision order or the refusal of the court to discharge the care order.".
§ (4) In section 22(4) of that Act (power of High Court, on application of person to whom interim order relates, to discharge order) after the word "relates" there shall be inserted the words ",or, in a case where the order was made in proceedings to which 1247 a parent or guardian was a party by virtue of an order under section 32A of this Act, of the parent or guardian,".'.—[Mr. Whitney.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker
With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 17, in page 3, line 27, leave out clause 3.
No 18, in clause 3, page 3, line 38, leave out subsection (2) and insert—
§ "16.—(8) Any party to the proceedings may appeal to a Judge of the High Court Family Division against—
- (a) any order made under the preceding section except an order containing only provisions to which the supervised person consented in pursuance of the preceding section;
- (b) the dismissal of an application under that section to discharge a supervision order".
(3) The following subsection shall be substituted for section 21(4) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969—
21.—(4) Any party to the proceedings may appeal to a Judge of the High Court Family Division against an order under subsection (1) of this section or a supervision order made in pursuance of subsection (2) of this section or the granting or dismissal of an application under the said subsection (2).".'
§ No. 19, in page 3, line 38, leave out 'Section 6' and insert 'sections 6 and 12(5)'.
§ No. 20, in page 4, line 6, leave out subsection (4).
§ No. 32, in clause 7, page 5, line 34, leave out '3' and insert '[Appeals]'.
§ Mr. Whitney
This new clause amends the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 to allow a parent or guardian who was a party to care and related proceedings by virtue of amendments Nos. 22 and 23 to have a right of appeal to the Crown court.
Subsection (4) also amends the 1969 Act to allow a parent or guardian who was a party to the proceedings in which an interim order was made to apply to the High Court to have that interim order discharged. In this clause the term "guardian" means not legal guardian but refers to the definition in the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 of any person who in the opinion of the court has for the time being the charge of or control of the child.
In Committee I said that clause 3 presented considerable difficulties. The implications of the clause would bring with it unacceptable resource costs in extra High Court judges and legal aid, but I hoped to bring forward amendments which my hon. Friend would support. I had in mind appeal rights for local authorities and for parents when a separate representation order has been made, in each case to the Crown court as at present. In the event, in agreement with my hon. Friend who had hoped we could at this stage agree to transfer to the High Court, I have limited the increased appeal rights to parents. This will close an unfortunate gap which has emerged in recent cases when the appointment of a guardian ad litem after a separate representation order deprived the parents of the opportunity to appeal on behalf of the child. The House will agree that there is an exceptional case for parents where they are made parties to be able to appeal on their own behalf in such cases. There was a case, quite widely known as the "brittle 1248 bones" case, raised in the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood (Mr. Stewart). In other cases they can still appeal on behalf of the child.
I am also speaking to amendments Nos. 17, to leave out clause 3, and 32 which covers commencement of the new clause 6. Amendments 18, 19 and 20 would fall if the House accepts amendment No. 17, and I have no further comment on them.
§ Ms. Richardson
Is the Minister able to assure me either that my points have been taken into account or that they will be looked at, since he plans to introduce other amendments?
§ Mr. Whitney
I understand that they will be unnecessary if amendment No. 17 and new clause 6 is agreed to.
§ Mr. Walters
The original clause 3 had two distinct aims: first, to enlarge the category of appellants and, secondly, to transfer the appeal from the Crown court to the family division of the High Court. I greatly regret that, despite the recommendation by the review on child care law, the Government have not found it possible to accept this second and important aim. The involvement of the Crown court in care proceedings is anomalous and widely deplored. While no assurance has been given to me, I very much hope that this will continue only for a short while longer, and that, when we have the promised major review of child care law, it will include an end to appeals to the Crown court.
In the meantime, I am reluctant to be associated with any increase in appeals to the Crown court. As at the moment parents have no appeal, nor can they, unlike the local authority, take advantage or wardship, I am in support of this modest enlargement of the category of appellants proposed by the amendment.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.