A father has been told that he cannot reopen an adoption case involving his daughter. The court ruled that further delays could be detrimental to the girl’s well-being.
The issue arose after the local authority applied for care and placement for adoption orders in respect of the 16-month-old girl.
Her mother was a UK citizen; the father was a Pakistani citizen. The parents had married in Pakistan in 2014, after which the mother returned to the UK but the father was refused a visa. The daughter was born in 2017 and was removed into the local authority's care, as the mother had chronic health problems and lived in an abusive environment with her UK family.
The mother moved to Pakistan to live with the father and his family. The child was profoundly deaf and urgently required cochlear implants to give her the best chance of limiting the impact of her deafness.
The service for the provision of cochlear implants in Pakistan was privately run and the parents could not afford it; therefore, they withdrew their opposition to care and placement orders. The judge decided to grant the orders and reserved judgment for two days while the local authority drew up a final care plan.
The father then changed his position and wanted to give oral evidence opposing the orders.
The court ruled against him. It held that he had no new material to present and the outline of his proposed evidence lacked realism and concern for the child's best interests. If the matter was reopened to allow his oral evidence, it would probably be months before the case could be heard.
That delay could have very severe and life-long effects on the child, in that she needed to have the cochlear implants within the next two to three months to maximise their benefit to her. Accordingly, to preserve her interests, the decision to make the care and placement orders would not be reopened and therefore the decision to make the orders stood.
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Case Citations:  EWHC 850 (Fam)BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL v (1) SQ (2) MN (3) JN (A CHILD BY HER GUARDIAN JOANNE GOSPEL) (2019)Fam Div (Birmingham) (Lieven J)
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