ADOPTION/CARE: Re S (Special Guardianship Order) (No 2) [2007] EWCA Civ 90

20 FEB 2007

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Tuckey and Wall LLJ; 14 February 2007)

In an addendum to the judgment in Re S (Special Guardianship) [2007] EWCA Civ 54 (see below), the court clarified the need for reports under s 14A(8) Children Act 1989 when making special guardianship orders: the court could not make such an order of its own motion without having received a s 14A(8) report. Reports containing relevant information (such as adoption application reports) could not be relied upon in the absence of a s 14A(8) report. Where the court considered that a special guardianship order should be made, even though no application for such an order had been made by any of the parties and there was no report under s 14A(8), the court should exercise its powers under s 14A(9) and request the authority to conduct the investigation and produce such a report. The court could, however, adopt a pragmatic approach to the report; when the bulk of the information required for the report under s 14A(8) was already before the court in a different form it would be unduly burdensome to require the local authority to start again from scratch. If much of the relevant information was already before the court, the local authority should then be asked to file a report which would fulfil the terms of s 14A(8) by (i) providing any missing information, and (ii) by setting out the remaining information in the form of cross-references to the information already before the court in other reports.

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