Thursday, 17 December 2009

Standard of Proof in Care Proceedings

RE S-B (CHILDREN) [2009] UKSC 17

The Supreme Court has given clear guidance on the standard of proof in care proceedings where the Court is making findings of non-accidental injury.

It has confirmed that there is no such things as a sliding civil scale of proof. The common rubric of "the more serious the allegation, the more cogent the evidence needed to prove it" was rejected and the the Court said that the standard is simply just "the balance of probabilities", no more and no less.

The focus of these cases is the protection of the child; to be achieved by making findings of who most probably harmed the child so that that adult can be removed from caring for the child. It is not necessary to make findings akin to the establishment of criminal liability for the harm; that is for a jury in another Court.

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