Lord Brailsford had to consider in what circumstances it would be appropriate for the court to award expenses against a local authority where permanence orders had been refused, in Perth & Kinross Council, Petrs [2018] CSOH 6 (30 January 2018).

The general practice of not awarding costs in permanence proceedings was noted, but the court did have a “discretionary right” to award expenses in cases where reprehensible behaviour or an unreasonable stance on the part of the local authority could be demonstrated.

In finding no expenses were due, Lord Brailsford noted the local authority had been discharging its statutory duty in applying for the orders and its decision to pursue permanence had been supported and informed by children’s hearings, a safeguarder and a consultant clinical psychologist. The local authority could not be held responsible for the evidence of the latter having been damaged at proof.