(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Carnwath and Wall LJJ; 6 February 2007)
It was not the case that a special guardianship order was to be preferred to adoption in a family placement unless there were cogent reasons to the contrary. The proper formulation was that set out in Re S (Special Guardianship Order)  EWCA Civ 54, paras 47-49 (see below). It was also not the case that the court must adopt the least interventionist option. An order under the Children Act 1989 could only be made if the court considered that doing so would be better for the child than making no order, but it might be material for the court to consider which order was less interventionist. No such consideration could be allowed to derogate from the welfare principle. The recorder had been entitled to conclude that the child's particular welfare needs required the making of an adoption order, and that a special guardianship order would be insufficient to ensure the long-term security and stability of the placement.