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PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE: B Borough Council v S and S (by the Official Solicitor) [2006] EWHC 2584 (Fam)

Date:31 OCT 2006

(Family Division; Charles J; 23 October 2006)

There was a need for recognition of the general starting point that persons against whom, and in respect of whom, orders were sought should be given the opportunity to be heard. Any exception from that approach needed to be demonstrated and justified; an application without notice was therefore of an exceptional nature. In relation to without notice applications, duties imposed in respect of the evidence put before the court and procedural and other guidance must be complied with strictly. There was a need for the court to consider how the proposed course of action would be implemented, and what the intentions of the relevant public authority were, and to ensure that the without notice relief sought was no more than was required. The vulnerability of an elderly spouse or other family member, whose right to respect for his or her family life was affected by the orders sought, had to be taken into account when considering whether without notice relief should be applied for and granted, and what procedural steps and safeguards should be put in place.