A County Council v M & H & T – Family Law Week case summary

14 May 2021

A local authority’s application not to assess a grandmother as a carer was granted and the grandmother’s application for a Special Guardianship Order or a Child Arrangements Order was dismissed.

Due to their young age and an unplanned pregnancy discovered late in the day (amongst other matters), H's parents approached the local authority before the birth of H to arrange an adoption. H was placed with 'foster to adopt' parents.  On learning of this, the paternal grandmother told the social worker she wished to care for H. The parents objected on grounds which included that the grandmother was a single parent of limited means who had suffered episodes of depression. The wider paternal family did not support the grandmother's application.

The grandmother then applied for a Special Guardianship Order or a Child Arrangements Order in respect to H, a seven-month-old child. The local authority applied under the inherent jurisdiction for permission not to assess the grandmother as a potential carer. The matter came before Mrs Justice Judd for determination on submissions.

The court considered the local authority's duty, under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, to consider the child's wider family as potential carers. Account was also taken of the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 and relevant case law. The judge assessed the Children Act 1989, section 10 in regard to applications for leave to apply for a section 8 order.

Read the full summary on Family Law Week.