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Serving no useful purpose

By Dave

In R(C) v Nottingham City Council [2010] EWCA Civ 790 (available through the Chief’s mystical powers and Lawtel [and now also on BAILII]), the Court of Appeal was faced with a substantive issue in relation to the children leaving care provisions of the Children Act 1989, as amended, and the Children (Leaving Care) (England) Regulations 2001.  Instead of dealing with that issue (which appears to have been around whether two people between 18 and 21 had been looked after by the council previously under the CA, when accommodation had been provided under Part 7, Housing Act 1996), the Court of Appeal decided the claim on a preliminary issue.  Throughout the claim, Nottingham had offered to provide the relevant services to the Claimants (including according them a priority need in future homelessness applications under Part 7), even though saying that they were under no legal obligation to do so.  Therefore, the Court said that there was no useful purpose being served by the litigation (applying Cowl v Plymouth CC (Practice Note) [2002] 1 WLR 803) when the Court and the Council have a heavy workload: “[The Court] does not exist to decide moot points” and “… the Children’s Department of Nottingham City Council has a heavy workload.  Its resources are better devoted to promoting the welfare of children in Nottingham, rather than arguing points of law whose only relevance is to other cases in which the Nottingham City Council is not involved” (at [37]).

Permission refused and, one might add, ouch.

1 Comment

  1. chief

    Permission to appeal refused by the Supreme Court on 16/12/10 (unless there is another R(C) v Nottingham CC floating around).


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