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(Queen's Bench Division (Admin); Coulson J; 9 February 2010)
The mother sought a judicial review of a local authority's decision to place her daughter for adoption. The child went to live with the adopters three days after a fax sent by the mother's solicitors indicating that mother intended to seek to revoke placement order. The social worker concerned was not aware of the fax until the day after the child moved in with the adopters.
The issue the court considered was at what point had the placement for the adoption taken place. It held that it was not when the matching panel made its decision, nor was it necessary for child to have moved in permanently. In this case it was held to be after all the relevant legal formalities and the introductions process had begun.
The placement was not an abuse of power, irrational or perverse. The fax had not been marked 'urgent', was addressed to someone who was known to be absent for a few days, and the solicitors failed to chase response or to seek an injunction.
The authority's duty to notify the mother in writing of proposed placement 'as soon as possible after making its decision' meant 'as soon as possible in all the circumstances'.
The Red Book is the acknowledged authority on practice and procedure