A judge has been praised for the way she has explained her decision to allow a baby boy to be adopted so that the child's father, who has a learning disability, can understand.
Deputy District Judge Lucy Reed said she tried to explain her decision in A Council v Jack's Mother, Jack's Dad and Jack with 'simple words'. Jack's father has ADHD, depression and a mild learning disability.
Reed, sitting in the family court at Swindon, explained that Jack's older brother Oliver went to live with his grandmother because social services were worried about what was happening at home. Concerns included toilet training, the state of the house, and hearing arguments and shouting. Reed said: 'Social services are worried that the same things might happen to Jack, and they think that because he is very little it's more dangerous for him. That's why they have asked me to decide what should happen to Jack.'
Reed's 12-page judgment explains the case under headlines including: what the case is about; who is everybody; what does everyone say; what I have to decide today; the history of Jack's case; delay - do I need any more information before I decide; what I think of the evidence; realistic options; welfare checklist; my decision; and contact.
Under the headline 'other important things', Reed said: 'Jack's mum and dad asked me to let them look after Jack. It is very sad that I haven't been able to agree to that. They are Jack's parents and if there was any way they could care for Jack safely they should be allowed to do so. My job is to put Jack first at all times. Sadly the problems that I have read about were so serious that I decided these orders had to be made - the law says I should not make such a serious decision unless there is no other option.
'I would like Jack's mum and dad to know that I understand they love Jack very much. I understand that this is why [the father] has found it too hard to go to all the contacts. I know that they have done their best and Jack will know that too when he is older.'
Explaining her decision to publish the ruling, Reed said: 'When I made my decision about Jack I was asked if I would publish my judgment. Junior judges like me don't usually publish their judgments, but I agreed, because I don't see any reason not to publish the judgment and everyone agrees that I should.'
The judgment has been widely praised. Penelope Gibbs, director of campaign group Transform Justice and a former magistrate, tweeted: 'All judgments should be written like this, including those for under 18-year-olds convicted of crimes.'
Last year Mr Justice Peter Jackson was praised for taking the unusual step of opening a family judgment with a letter to a 14-year-old boy at the centre of the custody dispute. He was also the first judge to include emojis in a judgment.