Local authorities often receive mandatory orders, made at short-notice on the papers, when the High Court is told that a family will be homeless without urgent ex parte relief.
As this Westlaw case note shows (click here) Mr Justice Holman concluded that 'there was always a real risk of the local authority being manipulated and the court being caught up in the manipulation via judicial review'.
Accordingly, on an inter partes hearing he declined to continue an injunction as Lambeth Council had concluded that an alleged breakup between mother and father was a façade by which the father was trying to manipulate the situation to force the authority to provide accommodation for his partner and three children. Lambeth had concluded that the father, a bus driver earning £42,000 per year, would discharge his responsibilities rather than see his children homeless. Because Lambeth 'had conscientiously performed an investigation and assessment' under the Children Act 1989, s17, the court could not conclude that the assessment was wrong or mistaken and therefore could not proceed on the basis that the children were in need.
Jon Holbrook acted for Lambeth Council.