Placing children in Scotland

What do English local authorities need to know when placing a child in Scotland? Ellen Crofts and Lucia Clark explain. Read more
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Sep 10, 2021

County council and Home Office threatened with judicial review over placement of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in unregulated accommodation

Kent County Council has announced it will begin to admit unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) into its reception centres again amid the lodging of a judicial review application against the local authority and the Home Office over the issue of placing them in unregulated accommodation.
Sep 02, 2021

Ofsted challenges claim of unnecessary child protection investigations

Ofsted has rejected claims that councils carry out unnecessary child protection investigations, in response to an Independent Review of Children's Social Care report.
Aug 26, 2021

Judge expresses concern at lack of suitable accommodation for vulnerable teenager in "depressingly familiar scenario"

A judge has criticised a situation in which a vulnerable teenage girl who “falls between two stools” cannot get the accommodation she needs.
Aug 26, 2021

Ombudsman finds council at fault after mother left in the dark about death of daughter at respite care home

Swindon Borough Council caused injustice to a woman whose daughter died while in its care, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.
Aug 25, 2021

Councils warn of major rise in child-related serious incident notifications

The number of serious incident notifications in England rose 19% in 2020/21 to 536, the Local Government Association has warned.
Aug 20, 2021

Council terminates contract with SEND transport provider over insufficient background checks

Birmingham City Council has terminated its contract with a firm that provided transport for children with special needs after a report found less than half of the operator's staff had the correct background checks.
Aug 19, 2021

Mother loses appeal over order that father should be informed of care proceedings

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against an order that a child’s biological father should be informed of care proceedings concerning his daughter against the mother’s wishes.
Aug 17, 2021

High Court gives go-ahead for discrimination claim over legislation on regulated settings and children in care

A children’s rights charity has secured permission from the High Court for a judicial review of secondary legislation made by the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, which provides that children in care in England up to the age of 15 – but not 16 and 17-year-olds – must always live in regulated settings where they receive day-to-day care from adults.
Aug 16, 2021

Croydon warns ministers it may have to stop supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Croydon Council may have to confront stopping to support new unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people, its Leader has warned.
Aug 15, 2021

Directors of Children’s Services call for more fundamental reform to family justice system

It is clear – after the events of the last 18 months – that more fundamental reform is required to the family justice system than implementation of the March 2021 report of the President of the Family Division’s Public Law Working Group, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services has said.


September 09, 2021

Notification to the biological father

Fran Massarella reports on an appeal against an order refusing a mother’s application for permission to dispense with the requirement for the local authority to give notice of the proceedings to the child’s biological father.
September 02, 2021

Looked after children and secure accommodation after 9 September

David Lock QC considers the looming crisis for children in local authority care being deprived of their liberty. What should local authorities do for looked after children in secure accommodation on 9 September?
September 02, 2021

Revocation of adoption orders

The Court of Appeal recently heard an appeal against an order dismissing an application by the birth mother of three children to revoke an adoption order made in respect of those children. Fran Massarella looks at the outcome.
August 27, 2021

Intercountry Adoption – a Birds Eye View of Legal Landscape focusing on Local Authority duties in these complex cases - LexisNexis

Ruth Cabeza, barrister and author of the text, International Adoption, from Harcourt Chambers and Joy Hopkinson, Principal Social Care Lawyer from London Borough of Lambeth, discuss the issues for local authorities dealing with overseas placements both in a private and public law context.
August 26, 2021

Public Law Proceedings and the 1996 Hague Convention

Henry Setright QC and Chris Barnes consider a recent decision of the High Court examining the use of the 1996 Hague Convention in the context of public law proceedings.
August 19, 2021

Discharging medically fit children from hospital during a shortage of accommodation

Gemma Brannigan explains how two NHS Trusts recently obtained a High Court Order to require a child to be removed from hospital.
August 19, 2021

Local authority failings: a way out?

Natalie Cross looks at the lessons to be learned from a ruling where a High Court judge was heavily critical of a local authority in care proceedings.
August 12, 2021

Authorising unregistered care and deprivation of liberty

Martin Downs analyses the Supreme Court’s judgment on the use of the inherent jurisdiction to authorise the deprivation of liberty of children in alternative restrictive placements by a local authority in cases where an approved secure children’s home is unavailable.

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Aug 11, 2021

Court of Appeal calls for fresh attention to fundamental principles of good case management in care proceedings as workload grows

The desired shift in professional practice in care proceedings can be achieved by paying fresh attention to the fundamental principles of good case management, the Court of Appeal has stressed in two cases appealed from the Family Court at Leeds.
Aug 11, 2021

High Court orders dispute over age of refugee to be heard by Upper Tribunal after council errors

A dispute about the age of an Afghan refugee must be sent to the Upper Tribunal for determination, the High Court has said.
Aug 11, 2021

Mother fails in Court of Appeal bid to revoke adoption order despite procedural irregularity

An application to revoke an adoption order should not be allowed despite a procedural irregularity at an earlier hearing, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Aug 04, 2021

Judge expresses concern at how professionals tackled case where child underwent forced marriage abroad

A Family Court judge has criticised “multiple problems” in the way professionals dealt with the case of a child who was not protected from undergoing a forced marriage abroad.
Aug 04, 2021

Family Court judge chooses double-barrelled surname for child in foster care after “unusual” local authority application

An "unusual" application from a local authority has seen a Family Court judge decide that a child should have a double-barrel surname which includes their foster carer's name.
Aug 02, 2021

Council did not have reasonable system in place to respond to police requests for accommodation for detained juveniles: Court of Appeal

The London Borough of Waltham Forest was in breach of its duty to have a reasonable system in place to respond to requests by the police for secure accommodation for juveniles at risk of being detained in police cells overnight, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Jul 30, 2021

Inherent jurisdiction can be used for deprivation of liberty of children amid “scandalous” shortage of approved secure accommodation: Supreme Court

The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court can be used to authorise the deprivation of liberty of children in alternative restrictive placements by a local authority in cases where an approved secure children’s home is unavailable, the Supreme Court has held.
Jul 29, 2021

Court of Appeal rejects bid by Welsh council to withdraw admission of liability in failure to remove case

The Court of Appeal has refused to allow an unnamed Welsh local authority to withdraw an admission of liability in a failure to remove case.
Jul 27, 2021

Children in care of London borough subjected to decades of cruelty and sexual abuse, Inquiry finds

For decades children in the care of Lambeth Council were subjected to levels of cruelty and sexual abuse that are “hard to comprehend”, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has found.
Jul 26, 2021

More needs to be done to ensure remote hearings are fair and work smoothly, say family professionals

Nearly two thirds of professionals responding to the latest Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO) rapid consultation feel that more needs to be done to ensure that remote hearings are fair and work smoothly.
Jul 23, 2021

Supreme Court to rule next week on use of inherent jurisdiction in cases where there is insufficient registered secure accommodation for vulnerable children

The Supreme Court is to hand down next week its ruling in a landmark case on the use of the inherent jurisdiction to authorise placements in unregistered secure accommodation in situations where there are insufficient places in registered secure children’s homes.
Jul 22, 2021

Judge praises council for "brave but proper decision" to end care proceedings

A Family Court judge has praised the London Borough of Bromley for its “brave but proper decision” to end care proceedings in case where a child was suspected to have suffered deliberate injury but was later found not to.
Jul 22, 2021

High Court judge finds for London borough in row with city council over calculation of age of asylum-seeker

The London Borough of Croydon has won a High Court case brought against it by Birmingham City Council over how an asylum seeker’s age was calculated.
Jul 20, 2021

Cafcass blames “unsustainable pressures” as it implements prioritisation protocol for private law cases in West Midlands - other areas likely to follow in weeks ahead

Cafcass has implemented a process to prioritise and manage high workloads in areas covering Birmingham, the Black Country, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Herefordshire family courts due to what it called "unsustainable pressures" on the family justice system in the area.
Jul 14, 2021

No need to change on ‘Freedom Day’ how family courts and Court of Protection have been operating, says Family President

The President of the Family Division has ruled out issuing firm guidance on how the family courts and the Court of Protection should approach their work after 19 July – dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ – when coronavirus restrictions are lifted by the Government.
Jul 13, 2021

Court of Appeal allows appeal by council as judgment in childcare proceedings did not contain required analysis of competing options

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by a council over a judge’s order that effectively rejected the local authority’s care plan for adoption for an 18-month-old child (A).
Jul 13, 2021

Campaign group hits councils with legal challenge over placement of children in care outside their area

The Good Law Project has launched a judicial review challenge against five local authorities over the placement of children in care outside their local area and against the Education Secretary over the failure to force the councils to comply with their obligations.
Jul 09, 2021

High Court judge compelled to highlight “once again” shortage of accommodation for children with highly complex behavioural and emotional needs

A High Court judge has – despite expressing "considerable reservations” – extended an order authorising the deprivation of liberty of a child who is being cared for in an unregulated placement considered ill-equipped to meet his behavioural and emotional needs.
Jul 09, 2021

Ombudsman criticises council after agency failed to follow statutory guidance when assessing prospective adopter

City of Wolverhampton Council has agreed to ensure its adoption recruitment procedure adheres to statutory guidance after an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found a woman was wrongly screened out of the adoption process.
Jul 07, 2021

Family Court judge issues ruling to highlight successful use of “Resolutions Model”

A mother and daughter have been reunited under the rarely used ‘Resolutions Model’ by the Family Court.
Jul 06, 2021

Couple secure rectification, damages from council over data processing after "unfair" safeguarding inquiry

A couple have successfully claimed rectification and damages from a local authority for their personal data being processed unfairly after a safeguarding inquiry.
Jul 05, 2021

Law Society warns against remote hearings in public law children cases where parties have limited access to technology

Public law children cases where a party has limited access to technology or where parties require an intermediary or a translator are instances where remote hearings may not be the best format, the Law Society has warned.
Jun 30, 2021

Tribunal rejects age assessment claim against council

The Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) has thrown out a challenge brought by an asylum seeker over an age assessment by the London Borough of Haringey.
Jun 24, 2021

Public law case starts fall but care proceedings disposals slow to longest average time since 2012: MoJ

There was a 7% decrease in public law case starts in January to March 2021 compared to the same quarter in 2020, the Ministry of Justice has reported.
Jun 23, 2021

European Court of Human Rights orders UK Government to pay €84k to social worker criticised by Family Court judge

The European Court of Human Rights has ordered the Government to pay €24,000 for non-pecuniary damage and €60,000 in legal costs to a social worker who was accused of professional misconduct by a Family Court judge in the course of a fact-finding hearing.


August 12, 2021

How not to conduct a placement application (part 2)

Rebecca Cross looks at a Court of Appeal ruling in a case where the ADM [agency decision maker] failed to carry out their duties properly.
August 12, 2021

Confidential information and subject access disclosure

Matthew Alderton reports on a case where a council was entitled to final injunctive relief to prevent the defendant from using confidential information that had been disclosed inadvertently.
August 05, 2021

The Public Law Outline 2014

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the operation of the Public Law Outline 2014 during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
July 29, 2021

Croydon/Home Office working agreement on asylum seekers whose age was challenged, judged lawful

Joshua Swirsky discusses a recent case that considered local authority responsibility for young asylum seekers whose age had been challenged.
July 22, 2021

Maximising support for families in a system under strain

The children social care sector needs urgent reform to support families and avoid crisis, writes Jo Porter.
July 22, 2021

Accusations in judgments of misconduct

A social worker has recently been awarded damages by the European Court of Human Rights for unfair accusations of professional misconduct. Charlotte Gilmartin analyses the ruling.
July 20, 2021

Everyone’s Invited: the legal implications

What is the legal framework for schools in responding to 'Everyone's Invited'? Fiona Scolding QC, Samantha Broadfoot QC, Leon Glenister and Joe Thomas discuss.
July 15, 2021

Public law children case update: May 2021

Kerry Cockayne analyses important recent rulings for childcare lawyers on special guardianship orders, discharge of care orders, and joinder of foster carers.
June 17, 2021

Public law children case law update

Chris Wells analyses two important rulings for childcare lawyers that cover assessment of birth families, and interim separation.
June 10, 2021

Failure to remove claims and section 20 accommodation

A High Court Master has recently considered whether in ‘failure to remove’ cases where a child has been accommodated under section 20, the accommodation of the child gives rise to a duty of care by way of assumption of responsibility, even if other steps taken by the local authority do not do so. Paul Stagg analyses the ruling.
June 10, 2021

Terminating a father’s responsibility for the child

Fran Massarella reports on a recent case concerning an application to terminate a father’s responsibility for the child pursuant to s.4(2A) of the Children Act 1989.
May 27, 2021

Where now for failure to remove claims?

The High Court has handed down a highly significant judgment in a ‘failure to remove’ claim involving a city council. Adam Weitzman QC and Caroline Lody provide a brief guide to the ruling and offer some preliminary thoughts on its implications.
May 27, 2021

Local authority duties to notify consular authorities

The High Court has provided important guidance to local authorities on the extent of their notification duties under Article 37 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963, writes Edward Lamb.
May 20, 2021

Obligations to assess the birth family of the mother

Fran Massarella looks at the outcome of an application under Part 18 Family Procedure Rules 2010 to determine whether there was an obligation for the local authority to assess members of the mother’s “birth family”.
May 13, 2021

Lies and Lucas in the Family Court

Andrew Bagchi QC and Anna Lavelle examine an important Court of Appeal ruling on fact-finding hearings and Lucas directions, and considerations of children giving oral evidence in family proceedings.
May 06, 2021

Applications to discharge special guardianship orders

Fran Massarella examines a Court of Appeal case which concerned the test for granting leave to apply to discharge a special guardianship order and the construction of s.14D(5) of the Children Act 1989.
April 29, 2021

Public law judgments: When to seek clarification and when to ask for permission to appeal

The Court of Appeal recently allowed an appeal by a father against findings that he had sexually abused his daughter, on the basis that the judge’s analysis was insufficient and flawed. Joanne Oakes examines the ruling.
April 22, 2021

Lies, welfare and the future risk of harm

Jackson LJ has reiterated the basic principles to be applied when determining whether to make care and placement orders and discussed the significance of lies in the context of welfare and the impact of lies when assessing the future risk of harm. Kate Pye-Jones examines the case.
April 15, 2021

Liability for abuse suffered by claimant placed in private care home

Steven Ford QC analyses a ruling where, in the absence of fault, a local authority was not liable for sexual assaults committed by an employee of the private residential care home at which it placed the claimant. The relationship between the abusive employee and the placing authority was not akin to employment and the duty of care owed by the authority to the claimant was not non-delegable.
April 08, 2021

Vulnerable persons - participation and evidence in family proceedings

The following Family practice note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the participation of vulnerable people and evidence in family proceedings.