A few snacks in case your inner geek is starving

So, I’ve been collecting a few snackettes, a few tasty morsels from the back of the walk in pantry that is the FPR. Things in tins you had forgotten you had (ignore the best before date, they’ll be fine to use).

Firstly, FPR 12.26C, Extension of time limit : reasons for court’s decision

(1) When refusing or granting an extension of the period that is for the time being allowed under section 32(1)(a)(ii) in the case of the application, the court will announce its decision and –

(a) the reasons for that decision; and 

(b) where an extension is granted or refused, a short explanation of the impact which the decision would have on the welfare of the child.

 

Straw poll – does that always happen? (Clue : no).

Secondly, PRACTICE DIRECTION 14F – DISCLOSING INFORMATION TO AN ADOPTED ADULT (backing rule 14.18) – a whole procedure for adopted adults to use to get hold of papers in their case, including the application form for an adoption order (but not the documents attached to that form), the adoption order and any other orders relating to the adoption proceedings; orders allowing any person contact with the child after the adoption order was made, any transcript or written reasons of the court’s decision; a report made to the court by a children’s guardian, reporting officer or children and family reporter, a local authority or an adoption agency.

Increasingly courts are ordering transcripts for the purpose of them remaining on the file for a child to read when an adult, although there are some costs difficulties with this as the LAA often grumble and throw their toys out of their pram. HHJ Wildblood, DFJ in Bristol often remarks in his judgments that he has an increasing number of applications of this sort to deal with from adults who were once the subject of orders in his court. It is always worth remembering that the children we are dealing with now may come back in a decade or so wondering what on earth went on in the family court in 2017 and why they were separated from their family.

Thirdly, not yet in force, and not from the FPR, s9 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, which will amend the Adoption and Children Act 2002 enhanced welfare checklist to specifically require the court to have regard to a child’s relationship with prospective adopters. Personally i’m not sure it adds much, since prospective adopters fell to be considered under “other person” in that checklist anyway. But others take a different view. Also see s8 of that Act (also not yet in force) which I haven’t yet quite got my head around but which seems to me to amount to an Asda roll back to an earlier time in terms of the restrictions on what the court is to consider at final hearing in a care case :

Care orders: permanence provisions

In section 31 of the Children Act 1989 (care and supervision orders), for subsection (3B) substitute—

(3B)For the purposes of subsection (3A), the permanence provisions of a section 31A plan are—

(a)such of the plan’s provisions setting out the long-term plan for the upbringing of the child concerned as provide for any of the following—

(i)the child to live with any parent of the child’s or with any other member of, or any friend of, the child’s family;

(ii)adoption;

(iii)long-term care not within sub-paragraph (i) or (ii);

(b)such of the plan’s provisions as set out any of the following—

(i)the impact on the child concerned of any harm that he or she suffered or was likely to suffer;

(ii)the current and future needs of the child (including needs arising out of that impact);

(iii)the way in which the long-term plan for the upbringing of the child would meet those current and future needs.

I hope that your inner geek will be fortified for the week ahead by my little ploughmans board of delights. It’s amazing what you can make a meal out of…

I’m off for an almost-birthday lunch involving too much pizza and too many nieces and nephews high on fizzy pop.

3 thoughts on “A few snacks in case your inner geek is starving

  1. Fizzy pop should be brought within the Misuse of Drugs Act.

  2. Something I was quite surprised about was the inability to strike out a statement of case in Public Law Care work. It is specifically excluded. This means (theoretically) that the Local Authority could come up with a bonkers threshold and there is no formal mechanism (apart from the judge going mental) for getting it struck off. For example:

    “The children are suffering significant harm due to parental care being not reasonable (etc), namely:-

    a) The parents hit them
    b) The parents have wonky teeth and this makes the children cry
    c) oeafuihbefaoubsfonjf”

    A is legitimate, B is not threshold and C is totally incoherent (though I have seem some thresholds which make even less sense than this), however because A is legitimate, B and C can remain live issues right up until final hearing. You can’t strike them off beforehand.

    That’s one of my nobody-cares law reform proposals. That, and an amendment allowing for applications for specific issue orders to be brought against Local Authorities.

    • But the reality is that a judge case managing such a case would require the LA to reformulate their threshold if it were this ridiculous, and the parents / child’s lawyers ought to be kicking up a stink if the judge has not spotted it herself. I would be banging my “that’s not threshold, you cannot be serious” John McEnroe drum the whole hearing. Things do slip through and one does still end up with a threshold that has had a few too many the night before and is all over the place, but the blatantly daft thresholds usually get spotted and shaken up early on. No judge is going to list a (say) five day final hearing on the strength of a threshold that is not capable of amounting to threshold.

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