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04 NOV 2008

ADOPTION: R (A, T and S) v Newham London Borough Council [2008] EWHC 2640 (Admin)

(Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court); Bennett J; 4 November 2008)

It was not the case that, if a panel conducted its meeting in such a way as to combine the assessment of an applicant's suitability under Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/389), Part 4, with the matching process under Part 5, the panel must apply Adoption and Children Act 2002, s 1 to both assessments. The panel must apply s 1 when matching under Pt 5 of the 2005 Regulations, but need not apply s 1 when considering suitability under Pt 4. The two processes were separate and distinct processes with different overarching considerations to be taken into account. However, in the instant case, the decision-maker, in rejecting the recommendation of the independent review panel that the couple be approved as adopters, and reconfirming the panel decision that the couple were not suitable adopters, had not met the weight of the independent review panel's reasoning or given clear and cogent reasons for rejecting it. Her decision would be quashed as Wednesbury unreasonable.

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