A Nottingham woman who claimed that a decision to place her child into adoption was a breach of her human rights has had her application rejected by the European Court of Human Rights.
The applicant, referred to in case reports as RP, is a recent mother with learning disabilities. During a number of hearings and assessments, the local authority had become concerned that she was unable to properly care for her daughter or to fully understand proceedings against her, as a result of which the Official Solicitor was appointed to act on her behalf.
Acting with her family, RP claimed that the implications of the appointment of the Official Solicitor had not been fully explained to her and that she had not been able to properly challenge the decision to place her daughter for adoption. The family relied principally for their claims on two articles within the Human Convention on Human Rights: Article 6, which governs rights of access to court and a fair trial, and Article 8, which governs respect for a private and family life.
The Court ruled that an official letter sent to RP setting her rights in regard to the appointment of the Official Solicitor was sufficient to meet the requirements of Article 6. It also ruled that Official Solicitor’s stated and legally determined focus on the best interest of RP’s daughter, referred to as KP, did not amount to a violation of the mother’s rights.