In Re R (A Child)  EWCA Civ 1019, Nicholas Stonor Q.C. and Patrick Goodings were instructed by the Appellant local authority, Durham County Council.
The Appeal related to care proceedings and the trial Judge's decision at a hearing in April 2021 that, with sufficient external support, the mother would be able to parent her 18 month old child, A. The Judge's decision in effect rejected the local authority’s care plan for adoption.
Following representations by the Local Authority, the Court of Appeal remitted the case for a re-hearing on the basis that the Recorder's judgment did not sufficiently explore the complex and competing options in the case.
The Court of Appeal's decision underlines the importance of undertaking a thorough balancing exercise and ensuring the test of ‘nothing else will do’ is not a short cut test as outlined by McFarlane LJ in Re W  2 FLR 31.