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(Court of Protection, Sir James Munby, the President of the Court of Protection, 30 January 2014)
The young woman, who lacked capacity, was adopted as a young child. For many years her mother had indirect letter box contact with her but now sought direct contact. Permission to bring an application for contact was granted in the Court of Protection in accordance with rule 55(a) of the Court of Protection Rules 2007.
The local authority in which the woman lived prepared a report including reports from a psychologist and three social workers. The issue of whether the she should be permitted to see the reports arose and in  EWHC 1424 (COP) and His Honour Judge Cardinal held that while she should be permitted to see a redacted version of the psychologist report she should not be permitted to see the social worker reports. The woman, via the Official Solicitor, appealed.
In cases such as this the authorities were clear that the crucial factor was the potential harm in the person having sight of the information. The judge had correctly identified the test as being one of strict necessity. There was nothing objectionable in relation to his decision as to the psychologist report but with regard to the social work reports there were deficiencies in the judge's reasoning and he had failed to consider all the options available to the woman for seeing the content of the reports. The appeal was partly allowed and the decisions pertaining to the social work reports set aside. The case was remitted to His Honour Judge Cardinal for reconsideration.
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