Support the #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Family judges should not adjourn family proceedings just to 'press pause button'

The Court of Appeal has warned family judges not to adjourn final decisions in public law proceedings just to 'press the pause button'.
Lord Justice Peter Jackson, in handing down judgment last week in S-L (Children: Adjournment), said adjourning a decision "is a positive choice that requires proper weighing-up of the advantages and disadvantages and a lively awareness that the passage of time has consequences".
In the case, the Law Gazette reported that a local authority was challenging a recorder's decision made in May to adjourn applications for care and placement orders for a three-year-old and her seven-month-old brother.
Lord Justice Peter Jackson said that while in some cases involving children, there can be good reasons for adjourning a final decision in order to obtain necessary information, the overriding obligation is to deal with the case justly.
"There is a trade-off between the need for information and the presumptive prejudice to the child of delay... Judges in the family court are well used to finding where the balance lies in the particular case before them and are acutely aware that for babies and young children the passage of weeks and months is a matter of real significance," he added.
Public law proceedings are subject to a 26-week statutory timetable. Yet proceedings for the three-year-old child began on 3 September 2018 and while they began for her brother on 24 January this year.
Lord Jackson said the recorder was obliged to explain why the timetable needed to be extended, concluding that the adjournment was wrong.
He said: "The parents had been intensively assessed in relation to one child and there was no gap in the evidence to justify a further assessment in relation to two children for whom delay in decision-making was a pressing negative feature. The recorder did not refer to the statutory timetabling obligations or explain why further extension was necessary."
The recorder's decision was also announced "without context or coherent explanation".
Lord Jackson ordered the matter to be remitted for an expedited final hearing given the "sensitive ages of these children".
The decision was backed by Lord Justice Green and Lord Justice Floyd.

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Government launches review into death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

06/12/2021

The government has launched a major review into the circumstances leading up to murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes to determine what improvements are needed by the agencies that came into contact with him in the months before he died.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

In addition, four inspectorates, covering social care, health, police and probation have been commissioned to undertake [...]

Read Full Story

UASC three years behind educationally by GCSE level

06/12/2021

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are up to three years behind with their education by the time they sit their GCSE exams, a new study has shown.

Little has been known about the outcomes of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, resettled refugees or asylum support children who enter the English school system, as the government does not record [...]

Read Full Story

Rainsbrook contract ends ‘by mutual agreement’

06/12/2021

The contract between the government and MTC to run Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre has ended after a ‘mutual agreement’ was reached.

Children were removed from the privately run secure training centre in June after concerns were raised several times about the care provided to children and young people held there, including concerns from Ofsted over [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us
WP Quality Assured

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram