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(Family Division; 12 December 2007; Sumner J)
In a case involving a vulnerable adult from an Afghan family, who was being cared for by the local authority because of concerns about her welfare, the vulnerable adult's mother applied at an interlocutory hearing for the adult to be placed with the mother for a trial period, and for permission to obtain a second social worker report, the report obtained from the first social worker, on the basis of joint instructions, having been critical of the family.
Refusing both applications, the judge concluded that a trial period in the mother's care was not in the vulnerable adult's best interests and that there was no justification for a second report. When a non-medical report obtained on joint instructions was adverse to one party and that party sought to obtain a second report, the relevant factors were: did the first report appear to be fundamentally flawed, biased, wrong, unbalanced or unfair; and was the report pivotal and could it be challenged without the need for a further report.
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