LOCAL AUTHORITY/WARDSHIP: E (By her Litigation Friend, PW) v London Borough of X [2005] EWHC 2811 (Fam)

06 DEC 2005

(Family Division; Sir Mark Potter P; 6 December 2005) [2006] 1 FLR 730

A determination of the ward's age by the court after receipt of an age assessment prepared by the local authority would not involve the exercise of an appellate or supervisory function in respect of that assessment. If the question of the age of a putative child became an issue in wardship proceedings, the court need not decline to adjudicate upon that issue for the purposes of establishing or confirming its protective jurisdiction and furthering the welfare of the child, simply because a local authority had conducted an earlier age assessment on the basis of more limited evidence and for a more limited statutory purpose, although the court must be carefully to avoid assuming a supervisory role or reviewing power over the merits of a local authority decision. Rejecting the age assessment, which suggested that the ward's age was 20 to 22, the court was satisfied on the evidence that the ward was 17 years old, and consequently satisfied that she had validly been made the subject of a wardship order.

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