Court of Appeal Judgment In Children’s Best Interests Case

Court of Appeal Judgment In Children’s Best Interests Case

Court of Appeal Rules on Duty of Enquiry in Children’s Best Interests/Article 8 Gypsy Case

John Hunter appeared for Flintshire County Council in a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal against a judgment of the High Court quashing the Council’s decision to grant temporary planning permission for a gypsy caravan site in North Wales.

The Court of Appeal held, essentially for the reasons advanced by the Council, that the High Court had “clearly erred” in finding that the Council had failed to ascertain and evaluate the relevant facts concerning the best interests of the children living at the site which it had relied on to justify the grant of temporary permission. In particular:

  • It reaffirmed the general principle articulated in Stevens v SSCLG [2013] EWHC 792 (Admin) that planning decision-makers will not normally be under any duty to carry out their own investigations into the children’s best interests
  • More specifically, it held that there had been no duty to carry out additional investigations in circumstances where it was implausible to think that they would have revealed any facts which could have undermined its conclusion as to where the children’s best interests lay or its judgement on proportionality

A copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgment may be found here

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