Costs and Local Authorities by Jeremy Rosenblatt


Jeremy Rosenblatt specialises in Child and International Child Law from 42 Bedford Row, Holborn, London, UK.

The problems local authorities throughout England (and Wales) face worsens for themselves regarding costs. Issues around orders for compensation payments made against them in care cases remain regarding their procedures or omissions and are recorded in case law but issues of preparation and evidential clarification that they require for cases and care plans of an international nature also need to be highlighted.

With Brussels 11 Revised remaining presently and consideration pursuant to good practice and case law once more as to placing children abroad as part of final care plans, transferring cases back to EU countries under the requirements of BR2 if not dealing with reports and omissions in practice particularly as to intercountry adoptions means that local authorities have expenditures that years gone by they could not have envisaged: public child law has become very international and has changed irrevocably.

The problem remains nevertheless as an inevitable lack of preparedness for local authorities to be able to see that it is important to identify practitioners able to assist them who may be more expensive that the agreed fees on lists that are provided to Chambers. Too often instructions are received for complex issues requiring not only the input of the practitioner of England but inevitably a practitioner from abroad who must also make provision to the satisfaction of the Judge here as to their process to receive a child back abroad and the merits of the care they can offer statutorily abroad and will actually be offered: this evidence costs money.

For those practitioners familiar with these reoccurring issues within public law child law it is never a surprise to hear that a local authority require a quick advice for little monies. A quick advice is not possible with insurance requirements not only regarding English processes but also of processes abroad not therefore allowing the English practitioner to assist formally. Local authorities will have to resort to websites of lawyers internationally, the Central Authorities if not Embassies who may own lists of practitioners abroad able to help with such expertise that is discreet there too but who will also cost monies to yet properly instruct. However younger practitioners should be cautious in case their expertise is not remarkable even though pressures are being put upon them to assist.

There is little way around this issue especially when on intercountry adoptions with children coming into England it transpires not all immigration processes have been followed especially with a foreign adoption order outside the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption with the Vienna Convention then being relied upon by a Judge also, anxious that not all is being done as evidentially as it ought. Local authorities will have to be prepared bear these costs of expertise too nevertheless: there is no way around it.

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