Woman seeks costs against HSE after daughter was put into care
A mother whose daughter was returned to her nine months after being taken into care has challenged the HSE’s claim that it is not required to pay her legal costs of defending District Court proceedings concerning the child’s care. The outcome of the case is likely to affect similar applications.
The HSE had claimed that the woman should have applied for legal aid and her failure to do so meant it should not be required to pay her legal costs.
The District Court is entitled to inquire whether the woman was entitled to legal aid before deciding whether or not to grant her costs against the HSE, it was argued.
The woman claims the HSE, a State body, is effectively requiring a vulnerable parent to seek legal aid rather than engage lawyers of her choice when seeking to have her child returned.
The HSE was effectively contending that if she engaged her lawyers of choice, her costs application would be opposed, John Rogers SC, for the woman, submitted.
This was unfair when it was the HSE who took her child into care at a hearing where she was not represented and when her lawyers ultimately secured her child’s return to her, it was submitted.