Damages awarded to baby's parents over human rights breach

A couple have won damages after complaining that their baby son was unfairly taken from them as a result of decisions made by council social services staff.

Bosses at Kirklees Council, based in Huddersfield, admitted breaching the human rights of mother, father and child.

The baby was taken from his parents, who have mild learning difficulties, when he was a week old and placed with grandparents by a family court judge after social services staff raised concern about his parents' ability to care for him.

But was returned about 10 weeks later and had lived ''successfully'' at home since then.

A High Court judge has awarded damages totalling more than £11,000. Mr Justice Cobb analysed the case at a private family court hearing in Sheffield earlier this month and announced his decision in a ruling published today (February 16th). He said the couple could not be identified.

The couple, who are in their 20s and have mild learning difficulties, said they had been unaware of the Huddersfield family court hearing.

They said their human rights to a fair trial and to respect for family life had been infringed, as had the human rights of their son.

Council bosses accepted that staff had not informed the couple of the courthearing.

Mr Justice Cobb said the couple and their son, who is now 15-months-old, had been given legal aid to fund damages claims. He said the case would see taxpayers picking up a bill of more than £130,000.