Spotlight
Family Law Awards 2020
Shortlist announced - time to place your vote!
Court of Protection Practice 2020
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Spotlight
Latest articles
The need for proportionality and the ‘Covid impact’
Simon Wilkinson, Parklane PlowdenThe Covid-19 pandemic has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. Within the courts and tribunals service there has been a plethora of guidance since March 2020 which...
Local authority input into private law proceedings, part II
Mani Singh Basi, Barrister, 4 Paper BuildingsLucy Logan Green, Barrister, 4 Paper BuildingThis article considers the interplay between private and public law proceedings, focusing on the law relating...
Time for change (II)
Lisa Parkinson, Family mediation trainer, co-founder and a Vice-President of the Family Mediators AssociationThe family law community needs to respond to the urgent call for change from the...
How Can I Wed Thee? – Let Me Change the Ways: the Law Commission’s Consultation Paper on ‘Weddings’ Law (2020)
Professor Chris Barton, A Vice-President of the Family Mediators Association, Academic Door Tenant, Regent Chambers, Stoke-on-TrentThis article considers the Paper's 91 Consultation Questions...
Consultation on the proposed transfer of the assessment of all civil legal aid bills of costs to the Legal Aid Agency
The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation on the proposed transfer from Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service to the Legal Aid Agency of the assessment of all civil legal aid bills of...
View all articles
Authors

‘Between a rock and a hard place’ – Re B-S and 26 weeks

Sep 29, 2018, 21:47 PM
family law, Re B-S [2013] EWCA Civ 1146, care proceedings, 26 week deadline, viability assessment, kinship carer
Inconsistent quality and practice in undertaking viability assessments was amongst a range of hot topics discussed at Nagalro’s spring conference on care proceedings, held on 16 March.
Slug : between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place-re-b-s-and-26-weeks
Meta Title : ‘Between a rock and a hard place’ – Re B-S and 26 weeks
Meta Keywords : family law, Re B-S [2013] EWCA Civ 1146, care proceedings, 26 week deadline, viability assessment, kinship carer
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : No
Prioritise In Trending Articles : No
Date : Mar 27, 2015, 04:52 AM
Article ID : 108895
Julie Doughty, law lecturer at Cardiff University, and editor of Seen and Heard

Inconsistent quality and practice in undertaking viability assessments was amongst a range of hot topics discussed at Nagalro’s spring conference on care proceedings, held on 16 March. Current practice at the initial stage in assessing potential kinship carers emerged as a major problem in ensuring that all realistic placement options for children have been explored, in the spirit of Re B-S ([2013] EWCA Civ 1146, [2014] 1 FLR 1035).

Almost 150 lawyers, social workers, expert witnesses and other family justice practitioners had gathered at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, to consider the dilemmas posed by the tensions that can arise between the Family Court’s requirement for a global, holistic evaluation of the options for placing a child under a care order and the time limit of 26 weeks imposed on care proceedings under the Children and Families Act 2014. The day conference was chaired by the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby. The speakers were Cyrus Larizadeh, barrister at 4 Paper Buildings; Dr Karen Broadhurst, University of Manchester; Uma Mehta CBE, Islington Borough Council; Bridget Lindley OBE, Family Rights Group; and Professor Jonathan Dickens, University of East Anglia. Their topics included: the principles laid down in Re B-S and subsequent cases; research on recurrent proceedings where young mothers experience successive removal of their babies; the pressures on local authorities to comply with court deadlines; whether these deadlines allow sufficient time to explore the parents’ capacity to change and suitable options of family and friends carers; and the role of the independent reviewing officer during the proceedings and beyond.

Family Rights Group are concerned about the use of viability assessments and have evidence that some appear to be peremptory. A potential kinship carer will not know where to turn for advice about their options. It was not even clear that there was a consistent definition amongst practitioners of what a viability assessment was. Points raised in the discussion included how long a typical assessment should take, as it seems that some are just brief phone calls, with no paper trail. It was noted that when adoption panels’ functions had included the adoption decision, questions would have been asked about other carers, which may not be asked now. On a show of hands, most attending thought that it was better practice for a viability assessment to be undertaken by an independent specialist within the local authority, rather than by the child’s social worker. However, this could add to delay. There were differing views about the right entry points in the process for viability assessments to begin, and who should be responsible for exploring these options at different stages. It was concluded that confidence in family justice might be improved if steps could be taken to clarify the rights and responsibilities of parties and agencies in relation to viability assessments.

Throughout the day, the President reminded the audience of the value of continuous inter-disciplinary feedback and dialogue, to which those attending had contributed, in seeking to resolve the ongoing tensions in the family justice system.

A more detailed report on the conference and papers by the speakers will be published in forthcoming issues of Seen and Heard.
Categories :
  • Articles
Tags :
speech_bubbles
Authors
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Load more comments
Comment by from