The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in an appeal concerning a failure to remove a former looked after child from the care of his family. Lizanne Gumbel KC, who did not appear in the court below, acted for the appellant.

The initial claim was on the basis that the failure to remove the child contravened his rights under article 3 ECHR.

The appeal was against a judgment of Margaret Obi, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, who struck out the claim. As part of that judgment, the judge had held that the operational duty could not be engaged as the local authorities had no “care and control” of the child, as he was not in local authority care at the relevant time.

While upholding the decision of the lower court on the facts before them, the Court of Appeal clarified an important point that there is no requirement for a child to be under the care of the local authority, in order for the operational duty under article 3 to arise.

Lizanne led Sam Jacobs of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Anna Moore of Leigh Day.