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Family Law

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19 MAR 2008

SUPERVISION ORDERS: Wakefield Metropolitan District Council v T [2008] EWCA Civ 199

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Arden and Hughes LJJ; 19 March 2008)

Although the judge's pragmatic decision to impose a supervision order for 3 years was extremely sensible in the circumstances of the case, under Children Act 19-89, s 31 and Sch 3, para 6, a judge could provide 3 years protection only by making at least two orders, the first a supervision order of 12 months duration and the second an order extending the first order for 2 years. Difficulties stemmed from this interpretation, not least that it was unclear when an extension could first be issued, but the plain language of the statute required this interpretation. Offering guidance, the court doubted that there would ever be a need to apply to extend a supervision order of 12 months duration before the last quarter of the supervision order's first life; how well within that quarter the application should sensibly be issued depended upon the extent of the issues raised by the application and the ascertainable capacity of the relevant court. The issue of any necessary application to extend should not be delayed so as to imperil the local authority's imperative need for a determination before expiration of the current order.

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