Coventry City Council v PGO and Others: CA 22 Jun 2011

The children had been placed with short term fosterers. On adopters being found, the fosterers themselves applied to adopt the children. The court was asked whether a county court judge had power to injunct the authority not to remove the children and whether the placement for adoption had taken place without the children being physically so placed. It was argued that the foster parents could not meet the requirements of section 44 of the 2002 Act.
Held: The authority’s appeal succeeded. The wording of the duties cast on the local authority by the 2002 Act on receiving a notice from prospective applicants could not be read to negative the possibility of their removal of the child. Indeed section 38 specifically provided a power to the authority to remove the child. Where a placement order had been made in favour of the authority the power of removal was not unders section 20(8) but by a combination of sections 3(1) and 25(2). Nothing in these circumstances operated to remove the authority’s power so to act, though the FPR were perhaps misleading. Though the court had a power to award an injunction even 10 weeks ahead of the time when the correct notice could be given, the court should have asked as to the foster parents’ real prospects of successin establishing that Coventry had acted irrationally. Asking that the prospects were low, and an injunction should not have been granted.
As to placement, a child is placed with prospective adopters only when he begins to live with them: for an adoption agency cannot ‘leave’ a child with persons as prospective adopters before he has begun to live with them: ‘a child is not ‘placed’ for adoption until he begins to live with the proposed adopters or, if he is already living with them in their capacity as foster carers, when the adoption agency formally allows him to continue to live with them in their fresh capacity as prospective adopters.’

Lord Neuberger MR, Wilson L, Dame Janet Smith
[2011] EWCA Civ 729
Adoption and Children Act 2002 42 44, Family Procedure (Adoption) Rules 2005, Family Procedure Rules 2010 118 119
England and Wales
CitedFourie v Le Roux and others HL 24-Jan-2007
The appellant, liquidator of two South African companies, had made a successful without notice application for an asset freezing order. He believed that the defendants had stripped the companies of substantial assets. The order was set aside for . .
CitedRe A (A Minor), Re TL v Coventry City Council; CC v A, by her Children’s Guardian CA 21-Dec-2007
The foster mother of a baby promptly indicated a wish to adopt her. Following four months of assessment Coventry informed her that, for reasons which she wished to challenge, her adoption of the baby would be unsuitable. Three days prior to so . .
CitedIn re F (A Child) (Placement Order); C v East Sussex County Council (Adoption) CA 1-May-2008
The father sought to revoke a freeing order. He said that the social workers had conspired to exclude him from the process. The child was born of a casual relationship, and at first he was unaware of the proceedings. On learning of them he sought to . .
CitedAmerican Cyanamid Co v Ethicon Ltd HL 5-Feb-1975
Interim Injunctions in Patents Cases
The plaintiffs brought proceedings for infringement of their patent. The proceedings were defended. The plaintiffs obtained an interim injunction to prevent the defendants infringing their patent, but they now appealed its discharge by the Court of . .
CitedSmith v Inner London Education Authority CA 1978
Lord Denning MR doubted the applicability of the criteria in American Cynamid to public law proceedings. It is appropriate at the interface of public law and private law for the public interest to be taken into account as one of the factors in the . .
CitedRegina v Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and Secretary of State for Environment ex parte Monsanto Plc Admn 31-Jul-1998
The principles which apply generally in claims for interim injunctive relief apply also in judicial review applications. The principle is that the applicant must show an arguable case, The court was not to try the main issues on affidavit. A triable . .
CitedRe S (Placement Order: Revocation) CA 7-Oct-2008
The circuit judge had been wrong to hold that a child placed with foster parents who were actively considering whether to apply to adopt him had been placed with them for adoption. Thorpe LJ said clearly that a child could not be said to be placed . .
CitedW, Regina (on The Application of) v London Borough of Brent Admn 9-Feb-2010
Application for judicial review of decision to place child for adoption pursuant to a placement order. The chronology was that: (a) on 3 August 2009 Brent’s adoption and permanency panel approved the match of the child with prospective adopters; (b) . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.441146