Important cases — Parens patriae

[3-1340] Re Leonardo [2022] NSWSC 1265

Last reviewed: June 2024

Infant in care of plaintiffs — Minister and Secretary pursuing transition plan for permanent placement with paternal uncle — application to restrain Minister from removing child — exceptional exercise of parens patriae jurisdiction of Supreme Court — child has been physically in the care of the plaintiffs for 15 months and appropriately cared for by them — maintain status quo in order for plaintiffs to be given written notification of the reasons for Minister’s decision should they seek to review decision — Minister restrained from removing child from his current placement with plaintiffs until further order.

GR v Secretary, DFaCSJ [2019] NSWCA 177

Care Act s 44 — parens patriae jurisdiction — 15-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder and avoidant food intake disorders — medical intervention in hospital due to weight loss — DFaCSJ allocated parental responsibility for medical issues by Supreme Court and an interim care order until the boy turned 18 granted by the Children’s Court — parents applied to vary care order but application dismissed — court should exercise caution in summarily dismissing proceedings where parents self-represented and had an incomplete understanding of procedure — court has a responsibility to ensure some degree of instruction as to the process which was being put in place — when dismissing proceedings, judge did not consider whether orders made in Children’s Court were not in best interests of the boy and whether court was not dealing expeditiously with issue of continuing care when determining the best interests of the boy — leave to appeal granted.

S, DFaCS re “Lee” [2015] NSWSC 1276

Exercise of parens patriae jurisdiction — where orders in place for parental responsibility and secure accommodation — continued availability of jurisdiction where child soon to attain 18 years of age but is not capable of managing her affairs — importance of ability to detain and restrain child to ensure proper care — where guardianship order does not include powers to detain and restrain — where guardianship order does not provide adequate safety net as alternative to parental responsibility and secured accommodation orders — unwillingness to discharge court orders upon child’s attaining 18 years of age until satisfied appropriate replacement orders in place.

Re Tilly v Minister, FaCS [2015] NSWSC 1208

Parens patriae jurisdiction — application to prevent removal of child from temporary carer — carer accused of assaults against other children in her care — the presence of risk, as determined by the Children’s Guardian, an automatic bar to a person being engaged in child-related work — statutory obligation on FaCS to remove child — parens patriae power not capable of dispensing with statutory obligations — residual parens patriae power to remove child from Minister’s care in aid of statutory care responsibilities — court has power to make child ward of the court — best interest of the child in out-of-home care — where removal would undermine the child’s bonds with the temporary carer — where need to protect child from risk of harm — where exercising jurisdiction would circumvent statutory child protection regime — court (not without regret) did not exercise parens patriae jurisdiction.

TF v DFaCS [2015] NSWSC 694

Invocation of parens patriae jurisdiction of the Supreme Court — whether the Children’s Court had jurisdiction to make orders under s 4(a) and (c) Care Act — jurisdictional error — Children’s Court order quashed.