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(Court of Appeal; Dyson, Smith and Wilson LJJ; 21 February 2008)
When, in family proceedings, a court had made a direction under Children Act 1989, s 37, that a local authority should investigate the circumstances of a person claiming to be a child and when, in response to the direction, the local authority informed the court of their conclusion, following investigation, that the person was not a child, the court was entitled to direct that a fact-finding hearing should take place in order to determine the issue as to whether or not the person was a child. The local authority was entitled to submit to the court that there was no power to make a direction under s 37 because there was no 'child' or because there were no family proceedings, or because no question arose with respect to the child's welfare, but s 37 did not confer on a local authority the right to determine whether any of the three threshold requirements for the exercise of a judicial power under s 37 were satisfied. When making a direction under s 37 the court had to be satisfied that the proceedings were not a contrivance to secure the facility to challenge a local authority's assessment of a person's age in a judicial enquiry de novo, which would run counter to the statutory scheme for the discharge of local authority functions.
Covers the law, practice and procedure in respect of FGM and also includes wider contextual...