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Placing children with relatives: the new law on designation

Date:24 JAN 2013

John Hayes

Barrister, Zenith Chambers

Lynn McFadyen

Barrister, Parklane Plowden, Chambers:

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 [2013] 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) [2003] EWCA Civ 1629, [2004] 1 FLR 534 no longer applies as it was based upon s 3 of the 1989 Act which has been repealed.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.