Re C (Minors): CA 23 Jul 1991

The natural father of two illegitimate boys appealed against an order standing over generally, with liberty to restore, his application for a parental rights order under section 4 of the 1987 Act. The adjournment was directed upon the basis that the PRO application would be reconsidered a year later, after a court welfare officer’s report had been filed. On the face of it, an appeal against a simple direction of that kind would scarcely be maintainable, because decisions on administrative questions, such as whether or not to adjourn a case for further report, are essentially matters of case management for the judge. The appellant contends, however, that the judge’s decision in the present case, when the reasons which he gave for it are analysed, amounted in fact to a full and concluded determination of the PRO application, and to a determination that was moreover misconceived in law. As for the purported adjournment order, that is attacked as being inherently misconceived since there was (by definition) nothing to adjourn once the issue had been decided; or alternatively on the ground that the judge reached the adjournment decision of his own initiative without hearing the views of either party as to whether this was a case in which a decision should be deferred.

Mustill LJ, Wate J
[1991] EWCA Civ 10, [1992] 2 All ER 86, [1991] FCR 865, [1992] 1 FLR 1
Family Law Reform Act 1987 4
England and Wales


Updated: 22 January 2022; Ref: scu.262632