The Court of Appeal has dismissed a mother’s appeal against an order placing her daughter for adoption.
The child in question, ‘CB’ was born in the UK in April 2008 to a Latvian mother. Her father was not involved in her life. Shortly before her second birthday, CB was removed from her mother’s home in the London Borough of Merton after being found in “appalling” and unhygienic living conditions. She was taken into foster care and despite a request by the mother that she be returned to her care, the London Borough of Merton went ahead with care proceedings and placed CB her for adoption. These orders were granted, and an appeal by the mother was unsuccessful.
In April 2013, CB was placed with prospective adopters, who applied to take her on permanently the following year. The mother applied for permission to see CB but was refused. In October last year, she made two new applications. The first was an application to have the case transferred back to Latvia, under the EU regulation commonly referred to as Brussels II Revised. This specifies jurisdiction in family cases involving more than one member state. The mother also applied for permission to oppose the adoption order altogether, under section 47(5) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 which states that the courts may not ignore a parent’s opposition to adoption of their child without good reason.
Amongst a number of legal points raised by her appeal, the mother claimed that the British courts had not properly informed Latvia of the progress of the case and had not assessed her circumstances for a number of years, thereby breaching her human rights.
She was granted permission to appeal, but at the High Court Sir James Munby rejected her arguments. If Latvia had been involved at an earlier stage in the case, he declared, it was unlikely that this would have made much difference to the case.
“There is simply nothing to show that, if they had been earlier involved, the Latvian authorities would have…led to the proceedings taking a different course.”
Turning to the issue of assessments, he noted that the mother had been “given every opportunity to provide any information she wished the court to consider to demonstrate that there had been a change of circumstance.”
But despite this, “her focus [had remained] on what she said were failures in the earlier proceedings.”
Read In the Matter of CB (A Child) here.