Court Upholds Child Welfare in Fatima & Ors Case: Final Care Orders, Contact Restrictions, and Disclosure for Criminal Investigation Addressed

Citation: [2023] EWFC 212
Judgment on


The case under review, Fatima & Ors, Re: EWFC 2023 212, deliberated in the Family Court sitting in Leicester, examines a series of critical topics central to care proceedings. The case covers issues related to the threshold for making final care orders, the application of Section 34(4) and Section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989, and the appropriateness of disclosure of documents for criminal investigation purposes. The judgment reflects the court’s engagement with the welfare principles enshrined in the legislation and highlights the court’s role in protecting the interests of minors in the context of care orders and family law.

Key Facts

The case involves the death of a child, Tamer, and the subsequent welfare of his four siblings, who were in the care of their father following the separation of the parents. The father was found to have a history of sexual abuse, inadequate supervision of the children, and was suspected of causing Tamer’s fatal injuries. As a result, Leicester City Council sought final care orders for the four surviving children, citing numerous failings by the father, including sexual and physical abuse, failure to seek medical attention promptly, and exposure of the children to cannabis. Both parents consented to the local authority’s proposal for long-term foster care, and the father did not contest the findings of fact against him.

The legal principles of this case derive from the Children Act 1989, which underscores the welfare of children as the paramount concern. The case primarily hinges on the following legal frameworks:

  1. The Threshold for Making Final Care Orders: The court relies on the threshold criteria under Section 31 of the Children Act 1989, requiring local authorities to demonstrate that the children are suffering or are likely to suffer significant harm attributable to the care they are receiving.

  2. Application of Section 34(4): The court approved the local authority’s request to restrict the father’s contact with the children under Section 34(4) of the Children Act 1989, an extraordinary measure when contact with the parent may not be in the best interests of the child(ren).

  3. Application of Section 91(14): Mr Recorder Adrian Jack followed the guidance of Practice Direction 12Q and recent adjustments to the Children Act presented by the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, where the threshold for making Section 91(14) orders is lower, allowing such orders where any application might put the child or another individual at risk of harm, however minor. The case also considered the need for a material change in circumstances for leave to be granted under Section 91(14)(4).

  4. Disclosure for Criminal Investigation: The judgment permitted the disclosure of specific case documents to the police, aligning with cooperation between family and criminal proceedings where the interests of justice require sharing of evidence.


After reviewing the evidence, MR RECORDER JACK made several pivotal decisions:

  1. The court found the agreed threshold facts sufficient to merit final care orders, placing the surviving children in long-term fostering arrangements with their current foster parents.

  2. The court granted the local authority’s application to deny the father contact with the children, in accordance with Section 34(4) of the Children Act.

  3. A Section 91(14) order was established for four years, controlling the father’s ability to make applications in respect of the children without the court’s leave.

  4. Disclosure of court documents to the police was sanctioned to aid the ongoing criminal investigation into the child’s death.


The case of Fatima & Ors serves as a poignant exemplification of the court’s commitment to upholding children’s welfare, judiciously applying the provisions of the Children Act 1989. By not diluting the established legal principles, yet operating within a framework that appreciates the evolving dynamics of family life and societal values regarding child protection, the court’s decisions aim to ensure the safety and well-being of the children involved. This case reaffirms the judicial system’s vigilant approach in care proceedings and the prevention of future harm, underscoring the central tenet that the welfare of the child is, indeed, paramount.