Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 414 (Mar)
Neutral Citation: [2002] EWCA Civ 388
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Kennedy, Clarke and Hale LJJ

Representation Murray Hunt (instructed by Bindman & Partners) for the claimant.
  Alan Maclean (instructed by Malcolm Gilbert, Plymouth) for the defendant authority.
  Aswini Weereratne (instructed by the Official Solicitor) for C.
Judgment Dates: 26 March 2002


Disclosure - Disclosure of confidential information - Statutory guardianship documentation - Local authority receiving 27-year-old child of claimant into guardianship - Claimant seeking disclosure of recommendations and reports leading to guardianship and social service files pertaining to child - Whether on balance of various interests involved claimant entitled to access to information sought - European Convention on Human Rights, arts 6 and 8.

The Case

Both the common law and arts6 and 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights required that a balance be struck between the various interests involved. Those were confidentiality of the information sought; the proper administration of justice; the mother's right of access to legal advice to enable her to decide whether or not to exercise a right which was likely to lead to legal proceedings against her if she did so; the rights of both the person unable to make decisions for himself and his mother to respect for their family life and adequate involvement in decision-making processes about it; the right of the young person unable to make decisions for himself to respect for his private life and the protection of his health and welfare. The balance would not lead in every case to disclosure of all the information a relative might possibly want, still less to a fishing exercise amongst the local authority's files, but in most cases it would lead to the disclosure of the basic statutory guardianship documentation. Having regard to those principles, the Court of Appeal ordered disclosure of the recommendations and reports leading to the defendant authority's decision to receive the claimant's son into guardianship under s7 of the .

Practice Areas

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