Somerset County Council v NHS Somerset CCG and Others [2022] EWFC 31

Alev Giz again appeared on behalf of CAFCASS Legal as Advocate to the Court in this second and final instalment of the litigation flowing from flawed adoption practices in Somerset. In the first case, Somerset CC v NHS Somerset CCG & Primary Cohort Children [2021] EWHC 3004 (Fam), Mrs Justice Roberts had examined and declared lawful placement orders made in respect of a primary cohort of affected children where the local authority had failed to comply with the Adoption Agency Regulations 2005 to obtain up to date medical information from the Agency Medical Adviser.

The wider issues affecting a larger number of children were considered by The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, in Somerset County Council v NHS Somerset CCG and Others [2022] EWFC 31, who determined that applications for declarations that placement orders made where there had been such breaches were not necessary because placement orders remained valid orders of the court unless appealed or revoked notwithstanding such breaches and there would very rarely be a health issue of such significance as to undermine the validity of the order which was not known to the Agency Decision Maker when the adoption plan was approved or the court when the placement order was made.

Sir Andrew McFarlane gave important guidance to be followed in cases where such breaches become apparent before final orders are made.

Full Judgment

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