Re H (A Child)(Parental Responsibility: Vaccination) [2020] – Family Law Week case summary

01 June 2020

On appeal from the High Court of Justice Family Division, McCombe, King, and Peter Jackson LJJ consider the procedural route when the vaccination of a child in care is disputed.

The case concerned a child, H, in respect of whom care and placement orders had been made to the local authority in January. The parents objected to the child receiving routine vaccinations, a view driven by the belief, particularly in the case of the father, that neither the court nor the state could take decision in relation to the child.  The local authority therefore made an application. Hayden J concluded that the local authority could use their powers under s.33(3) of the Children Act 1989 to consent to the vaccinations, but that in the event that he was wrong about that, he would have made the order under the inherent jurisdiction. This was in contrast to a previous decision by MacDonald J, where it was held that the decision was of such gravity that the local authority could not properly use s.33(3). Hayden J had given permission to appeal based on this conflict at High Court level. By the time of the hearing before the Court of Appeal, the issue as to whether the child should be vaccinated had fallen away – the sole issue was the procedural route to be adopted in such cases.

Read the full summary on Family Law Week.