Social workers have been accused of breaching the human rights of a couple after their week-old baby was taken off them in hospital when the father praised “the benefits of formula milk”.

A high court judge has awarded the new parents damages of £11,250 after Kirklees council took away the baby boy, accusing the father of expressing “unorthodox views” about bottle sterilisation and feeding.

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 on Thursday.

He said there was “no doubt in my mind” that the council had violated the family’s human rights – and even “misled” a family judge.

Kirklees council employees had persuaded the judge to sanction the baby being taken into emergency care without even telling his parents about the hearing.

The court heard that the mother, a woman in her 20s who has minor learning difficulties, and the father were known to social services before the birth of their son.

But staff at the special care baby unit where he was cared for in the days following his birth did not express any concerns about the child’s welfare.

However, maternity ward medics did inform the council they were anxious about the couple’s long-term ability to care for their baby.

Among other things, they claimed the father had expressed “unorthodox views” about the need for sterilisation of bottles and the benefits of formula milk.

Shortly before the baby was due to be discharged from hospital into his parents’ care, the council obtained an emergency care order from the courts and his grandparents were given parental responsibility.

Kirklees council claimed the parents were “on notice” of the hearing and had agreed to their baby being taken away from them.

However, the couple, who cannot be identified, said they had been unaware of the family court hearing. They claimed 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 eventually accepted that staff had not informed the couple of the court hearing.

The council also accepted that they did not notify Cafcass, the body which represents children in family court cases, so there was no lawyer present to represent the baby boy’s interests.

Mr Justice Cobb said the couple were in fact “unaware” of the hearing and were “understandably very upset” when they were told about it.

A spate of further hearings followed and the baby was finally sent home to his parents about 10 weeks after being taken from them.

In the year since then, the judge said the boy had “continued to thrive in his parents’ care”.

The failure to notify the parents of the care hearing was “particularly egregious” and involved “misleading the judge no fewer than three times”.

Awarding the mother, the father and the little boy £3,750 damages each, the judge said that was “just and fair satisfaction” for the wrongs done to them.

He added: “There is no doubt in my mind, indeed it is admitted, that Kirklees council breached the human rights of a baby boy and his parents.

“I am satisfied that the breaches were serious … the separation of a baby from his parents represents a very serious interference with family life.”

A Kirklees council spokesperson said: “The court and parties accepted that the council was correct to issue these proceedings, but mistakes were made which resulted in the court awarding the family compensation.

“The local authority has been ordered to pay a contribution of the publicly funded costs of the claimants, which cover specific periods of the case. This is due to the way the claimants’ litigation was conducted.”