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Friday, 07 December 2018

Judge condemns social worker for 'inadequate' report and 'woeful' oral evidence

Written by Brian Farmer

A social worker appointed to represent the interests of two children at the centre of complex family court litigation has come under fire from a senior judge.

Kailash Chudasama had acted as the children's "guardian" and been appointed by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) - whose staff represent children caught up in family court cases.

Mr Justice Keehan said she produced an "inadequate" written report and gave "woeful" oral evidence.

He said she had a been social worker for 25 years but had worked as a children's guardian for less than 18 months - and he suggested that she was not an experienced enough guardian to handle such a complicated case.

The judge outlined his criticisms in a written ruling after analysing evidence at a private family court hearing in London.

He said the children at the centre of the proceedings could not be identified but he named the professionals involved.

Mr Justice Keehan said the children were both under five and had been hurt at home.

He said their mother had mental health difficulties.

The judge said social services bosses at Leicestershire County Council (pictured) had welfare responsibilities for the children and had asked him to make decisions about the cause of the children's injuries and decisions about their futures.

"I very much regret to find that the guardian's written report was inadequate," said Mr Justice Keehan, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

"The guardian's oral evidence was woeful."

He said he had decided to "attach no weight" to either her written report or oral evidence.

"This guardian has 25 years' experience as a social worker but just 14 months' experience as a guardian," the judge added.

"Why local Cafcass managers thought it appropriate to appoint so inexperienced a guardian to such a complex case, I do not know."

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