This article charts a course through the complexities of the law on designation in a Care Order. It explains the recent ruling of Bodey J in Sheffield CC v Bradford MDC  1 FLR (forthcoming). The Court ruled that new provisions of the Children Act 1989 (which came into force 1 April 2011) change the pre-existing law on designation. The previous law in Re H (Care Order: Appropriate Local Authority)  EWCA Civ 1629,  1 FLR 534 no longer applies as it was based upon s 3 of the 1989 Act which has been repealed. In its place, s 22C is now the key section.
The ruling marks a fundamental change to the law on designation where a child is placed with relatives in a different area. In a case in which the issuing local authority ('A') places a child in the interim with relatives in the area of a different local authority ('B') and then proposes that the child should remain there under a care order:
Under the 'old' law, local authority B would have been designated.
Under the 'new' law, local authority A will now be designated.
The article addresses the implications of this change to the law using a series of case examples.
The full version of this article appears in the February 2013 issue of Family Law.