All your resources at your fingertips.Learn More
'… There is no expectation, either in FPR 2010, or in practice, that the Guardian will have seen either the children or any of the parties prior to preparing her report for the CMH; indeed it would be wholly unrealistic to do so as, byFPR Rule 12; PD12A, the CMH is required to be listed between Day 12 and 18 starting from the date of issue of the care proceedings.'Prior to the case management hearing before the judge there had been, said King LJ:
' … an Advocates meeting was held as is required by the PLO: (PD12A: Stage 2). Discussions were held at the meeting and agreement reached as to the future progress of the case, details of which were noted down by [counsel for the local authority] with a view to them being put into the form of an order following further discussions … [Thus] the advocates and Guardian were in agreement, subject to the judge's approval, as to both directions and a timetable.'
' All the parties crumbled under the judge's caustically expressed views, and as a consequence, were unable to explain to the judge that the situation was more complicated than the one the judge clearly saw, and expressed. The judge viewed the case as one in which he had before him three children each of whom had been in care for well over a year, two of whom were in settled placements. The mother he saw had had a recent positive drugs test, and therefore in his mind, the inevitable outcome was the making of care orders. The judge said that all future placement decisions in relation to LW would be made by the local authority through the Looked After Children review process (LAC reviews).'King LJ considered some important issues in relation to ‘care plans’ (subsidiary to this article). In the main procedural thrust of her judgement she explained how she sees ‘effective case management’ working under the PLO (as set out in PD12A); how CMH’s are intended to operate (again entirely by reference to the practice direction: PD12A para 2.6); and she concluded her assessment on the PLO as follows:
' Every care judge will be conscious that, whilst it is in a child's best interests for their future to be determined without delay, it is equally in their best interests that the management of the case which determines their future should be fair and Article 6 compliant. The danger lies when, as unfortunately happened here, vigorous and robust case management tips over into an unfair summary disposal of a case.'So when might a final order be made at a case management appointment? King LJ cites a contact case in which the Court of Appeal explained when a court might make an order without a full hearing (Re B (Minors) (Contact) 2 FLR 1). King LJ helpfully sets out the Re B factors at ; and she narrows it by her own further examples of where a final hearing first case management appointment would be unlikely.
' In both civil and family cases the Court of Appeal has said on more than one occasion that it will uphold robust but fair case management decisions by first instance judges: Cherney v Deripaska  EWCA Civ 1235 at , ; Re TG (Care Proceedings: Case Management: Expert Evidence)  EWCA Civ 5,  1 FLR 1250, at paras , . Both adjectives are important. Robustness cannot trump fairness.'Sir James Munby P also was concerned as to justice being done, especially if ‘inappropriately accelerated’.
Get a FREE trial today! The fastest way to access the latest law reports, case law, commentary,...