MW Partner and Family Lawyer Keeley Lengthorn and Susan George of 1 GC Family Law successfully defended a placement application on behalf of Child A’s father.


Keeley Lengthorn
Keeley Lengthorn
Partner - Family & Child Law

After success cross examination and submissions by the parents advocates the local authority withdraw its application for a placement order and its plan for adoption and A will continue to remain in long term foster care under a final care order, with regular direct contact with her family which will be established at a minimum level in an order.

In a very robust Judgment Her Honour Judge Lazarus found that the LA had:

“failed to carry out that adequate comprehensive evaluation of the issues relevant to A’s welfare, as required by statute and further expanded upon in the above case law”……….  The process of cross-examination increasingly revealed glaring gaps and distorted arguments.  It was telling that, despite the local authority claiming that it grasped that this was a complex and unusual case and that all the relevant issues had been considered, in fact very few of the relevant complexities were set out or analysed in any document and not even in this social worker’s re-amended document.  It was further telling that, when the possibility of a contact order that would help to support A’s family relationships and her exposure to her culture and heritage was raised with the social worker, her first reaction was not to consider it in terms of A’s needs and characteristics but to protest that this would narrow the pool of prospective adopters”.

Her Honour Judge Lazarus was highly critical of the Local Authorities “numerous and egregious errors” which resulted in an initial flawed placement application.  She went on to say that:

“the problems appear to be systemic and wide-ranging.  The identified problems touch each element of this local authority that has become involved in this case: social work, supervision, management, decision-making, legal advice, internal training, standards and checking systems, and ranging from social worker to lawyer to Director”

Child A will now remain in long term foster care with plans and proposals in place which adequately meet A’s welfare interests.

We Can Help

At MW, Our Mission is “To make quality legal services accessible to everyone”, especially those who are facing action by Local Authority Child Services. 

Where social services are involved the process can seem frightening and frustrating for the family involved, particularly where a child is being removed from home. It is very important to contact a solicitor as soon as possible. We will advise you of the rights/responsibilities that you, your children and family have. We will ensure that your views are heard. 

If you would like to talk in confidence to one of our team of Specialist Family Solicitors call us today on 0203 551 8500 or  use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback at your convenience.

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