A High Court judge has allowed a Sikh couple to adopt a child despite concerns about illegal payments made to the child’s birth parents.
In a recently published judgment, Mr Justice Keehan said he was “entirely satisfied” that an adoption order in the couple’s favour was in the child’s best interests.
Prior to his decision, he noted that the local authority had raised questions about the financial arrangements between the adopters and the birth family.
In addition to £30 to £40 paid each month to help the birth parents buy food, the adoptive parents also lent them £5,000. Under Section 95 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, it is a criminal offence for people to pay someone to adopt their child. If someone is found guilty, they could face “imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding £10,000, or both”.
The adoptive parents said that the payment was a loan to “to satisfy the financial requirements of [the birth parents’] visa application” as the mother was only living in the UK on a student visa.
Although the police decided to take no further action after an investigation, the case was taken to the High Court after the judge who heard the adoption applications also expressed concerns about the possibility of illegal payments. At the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Keehan heard evidence from both couples and the person who introduced them.
He found that there was “there was no attempt by [the adoptive parents] deliberately to mislead” the social worker or local authority about the payments. Additionally, the judge was convinced that the money was “not paid for or in consideration of the adoption”.
Mr Justice Keehan noted the testimony of the social workers involved in this case. They claimed that the adoptive parents had provided “excellent care” for the child since he was placed with them and that “it would be wholly contrary to his interests for him to be removed from their care at this stage”. With that testimony in mind, he made an adoption order in the couple’s favour.
To read A & Anor v A Local Authority & Anor in full, click here.
Photo by David Goehring via Flickr