Q&As

A local authority report has been prepared in relation to a special guardianship application but the application for a special guardianship order has not yet been issued by the court, nor have directions for filing the report been given. Can the report be filed as soon as it is completed, or only when the court has directed that it be filed? If it can be filed as soon as it is completed, who is responsible for filing the report?

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Published on LexisPSL on 08/04/2021

The following Family Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A local authority report has been prepared in relation to a special guardianship application but the application for a special guardianship order has not yet been issued by the court, nor have directions for filing the report been given. Can the report be filed as soon as it is completed, or only when the court has directed that it be filed? If it can be filed as soon as it is completed, who is responsible for filing the report?

Section 14A of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) provides that the court may make a special guardianship order (SGO):

  1. as a result of a free-standing application by an applicant who is entitled to apply or an applicant who has obtained permission from the court to apply

  2. with respect to a child in any family proceedings in which a question arises with respect to the welfare of the child if:

    1. an application for the order has been made by an applicant entitled to apply as of right or an applicant who has obtained permission to apply, or

    2. the court considers that an SGO should be made even if no application has been made for one

The court may therefore, in appropriate circumstances, make an SGO in existing family proceedings where no application has been made. However, note Re H (A Child) (Analysis of Realistic Options and SGOs), where no application had been made. Here, the Court of Appeal indicated that, without good reason, it is only where all parties agree that an application can be dispensed with that the power to make an SGO of the court's own motion can be exercised. The court also expressed some disquiet at this path obviating the need to address the important procedural hurdle of ChA 1989, s 10(9) test. In Re P-S (Children) (Care Proceedings: Special Guardianship Orders),

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