M.B. v Douglas Hill, Locality Reporter Manager [2017] SAC (Civ) 10

http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-source/sheriff-appeal-court-(civil)/2017-sac-(civ)-010.pdf?sfvrsn=2 (Sheriff Appeal Court, 16 February 2017)

Background: MB is the mother, and GM the father, of three children (CM, ZM and LM). All three children are subject to compulsory supervision orders (CSO). A children’s hearing reviewed the CSOs on 19 July 2016. CM’s CSO was continued and varied, with an inclusion that he have a minimum of twice weekly unsupervised contact with his mother. Both ZM’s and LM’s CSOs were continued, with the condition that they reside with their father and have no contact with their mother. MB appealed the decisions of the children’s hearing in relation to all three children, arguing that she had wrongly been deprived of her children by a spiteful and corrupt social work department supported by the reporter and the children’s hearing. She argued that the views of the children would support her position if they were allowed to give evidence. Unsuccessful in this appeal, MB then appealed to the Sheriff Appeal Court on the same grounds.

Held: The court noted that MB did not advance any points of law in her appeal. However, MB did refer to her and her children’s article 8 ECHR rights to respect for private and family life. The court considered the proportionality of the continuation of the CSOs, concluding that there was no merit to the article 8 argument. The court agreed with the Sheriff’s decision that the hearing was right not to stipulate a minimum period of contact between CM and his two sisters. The court also agreed with the Sheriff’s decision to hold that the appeal was frivolous, emphasising that continuing an appeal which has no merit will defeat or delay the purpose of the hearing system, which is to make decisions which safeguard and promote the welfare of children.