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01 MAR 2007

CARE PROCEEDINGS: Re K (Care Proceedings: Care Plan) [2007] EWHC 393 (Fam)

(Family Division; Munby J; 1 March 2007)

Having found the threshold criteria established justices had been wrong to refuse to make a care order on the basis that they were not prepared to approve a final care plan that did not include some direct contact post-adoption. The justices may have been misled by an inaccurate and misleading summary in the headnote of Re R (Care Proceedings: Adjournment) [1998] 2 FLR 390, stating that the question of contact, once a care order had been made, was a matter for the local authority to decide, not the court. In fact the justices had the power to make a care order, superseding any stated intention by the local authority in the care plan. The justices should have approved the care plan except in relation to contact, either going on to make a contact order then and there, or giving directions, or leaving it to the mother to make an appropriate application.

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