Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council (17 019 105)

Category : Children's care services > Adoption

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 12 Apr 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mrs B’s complaint about faults in the process relating to an Adoption Order. The complaint is outside the Ombudsman's jurisdiction because it involves court decisions and Mrs B has an appeal case pending with the courts.

The complaint

  1. Mrs B complains about the way the Council handled her application to court in relation to making an Adoption Order. In particular, she says the Council:
    • made errors relating to the court bundles; and
    • failed to make legal representation at the court hearing and have refused to provide her with an explanation.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We cannot investigate a complaint about the start of court action or what happened in court. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5/5A, paragraph 1/3, as amended)
  2. We have the power to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we think the issues could reasonably be, or have been, raised within a court of law. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the info Mrs B provided in her complaint.
  2. Mrs B had the opportunity to comment on a draft of this decision.

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What I found

  1. Mrs B complain about matters in connection to an Adoption Order court case. These mainly relate to the court bundles which Mrs B says contained details of their names and inaccurate or missing information.
  2. The court refused to grant the Adoption Order. Mrs B has appealed.

Analysis

  1. We cannot investigate the accuracy of evidence given to a Court. We also cannot investigate the Court’s decisions or actions.
  2. Mrs B has appealed the court decision. The Ombudsman cannot investigate a complaint when someone has begun court action.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint. This is because it concerns matters which have been, or will be raised in court.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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