Supreme Court refuses further appeal in Baby P sacking case

The Supreme Court has refused Haringey Council permission to appeal an earlier decision that found the authority’s former director of children’s services was unlawfully dismissed.

Then secretary of state for children, schools and families Ed Balls  dismissed Sharon Shoesmith from her position in December 2008 over her handling of the Baby P case.

Earlier this year the Court of Appeal found in Shoesmith’s favour, stating that the decision to sack her without notice was “unlawful and void”. Lord Justice Kay, giving the substantive ruling, said Shoesmith had been sacrificed to deflect public outrage about the Baby P case (27 May 2011).

The Treasury Solicitor instructed Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC, to represent Balls. Monckton Chambers’ Tim Ward, who took silk this year, advised Ofsted while Devereux Chambers’ Ingrid Simler QC was instructed directly for Haringey.

Landmark Chambers’ James Maurici was instructed by Beachcroft partner Tony Child to represent Shoesmith in her claim against Balls, Ofsted and Haringey London Borough Council.

Despite the Supreme Court refusing the appeal bid from Balls and Haringey, the case is not yet resolved. The question of damages is still to be decided by the Administrative Court while separate proceedings for unfair dismissal are currently in the Employment Tribunal.