(Queen's Bench Division, Edwards-Stuart J, 25 July 2012)
The claimant applied for judicial review of the London Borough of Merton's policy relating to the allowance paid to special guardians. The claimant alleged that Merton had failed to have regard to the amount she would have received had the child been fostered and that the borough's policy made under the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 was fundamentally flawed.
Both of the child's parents were serving prison sentences and there were no members of either the maternal or paternal family who were able to care for him. The claimant's son had once been in a relationship with the child's mother and they had a child together before this child was born so she was approached and agreed to become his special guardian.
The initial special guardianship allowance was miscalculated and although it was subsequently repaid the claimant lost her car after falling behind in loan payments and her credit rating had been affected. She was now receiving the National Fostering Network recommended minimum allowance.
Application allowed. Merton's policy to pay special guardian's at a rate two thirds below the National Fostering Network recommended minimum allowance was unlawful and needed to be amended.