A Family Court judge has awarded the parents of a four-year-old compensation over breaches of their human rights.
Social workers from Northamptonshire Country Council had removed the young boy from the parents to the care of his grandmother.
The legally of such move was in “serious doubt”, said Mr Justice Francis.
He said the council had failed to respect their family life and listed the council’s “failures, delays, and incompetence”.
He said staff had failed to carry out “full and adequate” family assessments and failed to carry out adequate care planning.
“I find the local authority to have been in egregious breach of its duties,” he added.
“Only speculation, which is of course always to be avoided, could fuel consideration of what orders the court might have made had proper and timely steps been taken by this local authority in relation to (the boy’s) welfare.
“I encourage the local authority in the strongest possible terms to enter into sensible negotiations forthwith to resolve the damages claims of the adults in this case.”
He said he would force judgment on the Council if they failed to reach a settlement agreement out of court.
But he said the boy should continue to live with his grandmother who had cared for him since he was a baby.
The child and family members have not been named.