About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Sign your name across my face

You have been warned. Again. By the President. In Re W (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 403

Care proceedings followed. A paternal aunt who lives in Belgium (I shall refer to her as Aunt A) put herself forward as a carer for Je. A viability assessment was prepared. The copy in the bundle before us was neither signed nor dated. We were told that it was dated 10 April 2014 and had been prepared by a social worker who I shall refer to as SWH and approved by her team manager who I shall refer to as TMA.

I interpose to observe that this is yet another example of practice which is not merely unacceptable for reasons which ought to be obvious – the court needs to know both the author(s) and the date of such a document – but is in fact in plain breach of PD27A, para 4.2.

This is not the first time I have had occasion to complain about this in recent months: see Re L (A Child) [2015] EWFC 15. I said this (para 14):

"PD27A para 4.2 states that:

"All statements, affidavits, care plans, experts' reports and other reports included in the bundle must be copies of originals which have been signed and dated."

This requirement, there for good reason, is too frequently ignored. For a recent, and egregious, example, see Re A (A Child) [2015] EWFC 11."


I continued (para 23):

"This endemic failure of the professions to comply with PD27A must end, and it must end now. Fifteen years of default are enough … The professions need to recognise that enough is enough. It is no use the court continuing feebly to issue empty threats. From now on delinquents can expect to find themselves subject to effective sanctions".


I spelt out what those sanctions might involve. Here we merely identify the delinquent local authority as .....

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