Court of Appeal orders adoption retrial

Children|September 2nd 2015

The Court of Appeal has set aside an adoption and ordered that the case be retried.

In a recently published judgment, the Court dealt with the youngest of seven children. All six of her older siblings were also involved in care proceedings, launched before the girl, ‘T’, was born. Both of the girl’s parents had convicted of “offences in relation to the children”.

Worcester County Court made care and placement orders for T which allowed the local authority to find her a new adoptive home. However, the girl’s parents objected to the following adoption order which would completely sever the legal relationship between them and T.

Under section 47(5) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, the parents required the permission of the court to oppose such an order. During the proceedings, a guardian for T produced a report which “demolished” the mother’s application. It claimed she had demonstrated “not just no change for good [in her behaviour and circumstances] but effectively change for bad”. As a result, the mother was refused permission to oppose the adoption order.

She subsequently took her case to the Court of Appeal, where she claimed that she had not seen the damning report, “had no notion of its content” and was therefore unable to “cross-examine or indeed to challenge in any other way” what was said in it.

Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Lord Justice Thorpe noted that the mother had not been legally represented during her initial application, nor was she at the start of the appeal process. She eventually acquired the services of a lawyer but because he had not had adequate time to familiarise himself with the details of the proceedings, he did not feel that he was “not in a position to do justice to the [mother]’s case”.

The judge ruled that the application for permission had to be retried. Despite this decision, he added that the Worcester County Court judge had been “committed to doing justice by this child and also by her parents” and that allowing the mother to oppose the adoption order was a sign of “regret rather than criticism”.

To read Lord Justice Thorpe’s full judgment, click here.

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  1. Tim Haines says:

    This case was heard four years ago, so I am somewhat unsure why it merits comment now. This was not a case where an adoption order was overturned at all, as no adoption order was ever made. The parent applied for permission to oppose the adoption, this was refused, and this was the decision that was appealed. The case had not proceeded to the point where actual final adoption orders were made.

    To the best of my knowledge, the ONLY case where final adoption orders have been overturned is Re W (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 403, a case in which John Hemming’s Justice for Families won permission from Lord Justice Ryder, prepared the written arguments and assisted the appellant mother with rights of audience in court at the full appeal, together with most excellent representation of the father by Ms Janet Bazley QC, who came on board at the last minute.

  2. Name Witheld says:

    I know this was a while ago .
    But still the judge sees wrong in all parents and he will never change . While he is a gigh judge no one wins . Weather your right or wrong he always wins. He gives no parents a chance even to change . Im a good person i am a good mum . Wrong has been done to me and my family punished enough he still because of false information from police i spent 3 months in HMP Prison. Because it eas christmas and family wanted each other police asked me even with a no contact order to say good bye and not walk away for there emmotional need i stayed and gave a hug and said it will be all ok i love them dearlly i got 3 mths if i was a criminal and beat my hildren and got 3 mths id of been out quicker and on tag . But no civil get long time no time of and in the mean time u got my other son home and he was 17 left alone at home thank good we are a ckose tight nit family with help and support . Shame on the justice system worcester i belive you will never win against rundel sorry im still fighting not for what i want but for whats right for my other children and there rights ti a family life and there ties too

  3. Jerry Lonsdale says:

    The common ground is now that if permission to oppose adoption orders are refused then the Adoption Order will not be made until sufficient time has passed in which an appeal could be mounted, 21 days, as per Mumby’s instructions in Re. P of 2013,

    Re W was NOT an over turn of Adoption Order, it was sent back for re-trial in which an order could still be made, its been debated since time immemorial

    • Tim Haines says:

      Sorry, you’re wrong, Jerry. And we HAVE been through all of this before. See Family Law Week, where the first line of the report says, “Father’s successful appeal against adoption orders and dismissal of his contact application – the applications were remitted to be heard by a different judge”. Note, “successful appeal of adoption orders”… That really couldn’t be any clearer. The appeal was granted, the adoption orders were annulled. If the lower court makes new adoption orders, they are just that, NEW adoption orders. The old orders cannot be reinstated: they have been successfully appealed. In fact, the case was remitted to a different judge who will make orders of his own at the end of the case. Upon a successful appeal (such as this one) the court has the ability to dispose of the case in a number of different ways including a re-trial: remember those tick boxes for the requested outcome on the N161? Now why would anyone appeal and request an outcome which was not a success?

  4. Corrine Tung says:

    Practical analysis , I am thankful for the facts – Does anyone know if my assistant could possibly find a blank FL DH 527 example to fill in ?

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