CC & anor -v- Health Service Executive & anor (Application to Discharge Care Order)

CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
JudgeGibbons J.
Judgment Date01 July 2011
Neutral Citation[2011] IEDC 4
Case OutcomeApproved
Date01 July 2011
[2011] IEDC 4
1 July 2011
1. This c ase c ame before the District Court by way of an application by t he natural parents to discharge a Care Order made in
respect of the Child 1, born in June 2000, and Child 2, born in March 2002. The history of t his case is s et out extensively in the soc ial
work reports, and indeed in other reports by t he Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) and t he Psyc hologist.
2. Both parties essent ially agree on the history of the c ase; theref ore, there is no requirement fo r me to repeat what is already known
and acc epted. The Care Order herein was made on 16 of November 2004. In fact , the children were in the ca re of the Respondents
for a longer period in that they were first so rec eived on 12 February 2003. This applicat ion to discharge was first opened t o the
Court originally on 13 of Oc tober 2008.
Dates of Hearing
3. The dat es the Court has recorded are as follows:
1) 13/10/08 – 14/10/08: 2 days
2) 20/11/08 – Applicat ion to Discharge: 1 day allocat ed
3) 27/11/08 – for mention only to f ix a date to discharge
4) 09/12/08 – applicat ion to discharge: 1 day
5) 18/12/08 – applicat ion to discharge: 1 day
6) 06/01/09 – applicat ion to discharge: half a day
7) 13/02/09 – applicat ion to discharge: half a day
8) 23/04/09 – 24/04/09 application to disc harge: 2 days
9) 12/06/09 – for mention
10) 10/07/09 – for mention
11) 23/10/09 – for mention
12) 04/11/09 – for mention
13) 11/01/10 – 12/01/10 – application to disc harge: 2 days
14) 11/11/10 – application t o discharge: 1 day
15) 24/11/10 – application t o discharge: 1 day
16) 24/03/11 – for mention
17) 09/05/11 – 10/05/11 – application to disc harge: 2 days
18) 23/05/11 – for mention
4. The c ourt heard a number of witnesses, namely the mother, who is the first named applicant; t he father, w ho is the sec ond named
applicant; the Psychologist, who was an agreed e xpert witness; Soc ial Worker 1; the GAL; and Social Worker 2. I heard some of the
witnesses t wice be cause of the length of time the c ase was listed and because the Court wished t o have updates with regard to t he
Length of Application
5. The reality of this application t o discharge the Care Order is that it w ent on for t oo long and should have been set down for a
number of days in order that it c ould be conc luded in a timely fashion. Considering the t imetable above in this case , I must acc ept
that it is not good prac tice on the part of the Court to allow suc h cases to c ontinue for as long as this has. Whilst t here were some
good reasons to delay the matter, f or example, whilst the new care f acility bec ame involved, on that oc casion it was by c onsent,
ultimately it is for the Judge t o cont rol and manage the case and to ensure expedition in the hearing. This c ase was a review of t he
Care Order and at times seemed more like an Appeal of the original order. This case should have had a block of day s and not allowed
to drift as it has. T he danger of suc h delay is that it c ould undermine and destabilise the c hildren’s placement and possibilities. There
is also the st ress fac tor for parents who are waiting for t he process t o end. Attending a court hearing is a trying exercise for

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