• Antony Wilkinson

Parents allowed to appeal against their son being adopted

Parents allowed to appeal against their son being adopted

A couple have been granted permission to continue their legal battle to prevent their son being adopted.

The local authority had become involved with the family in 2018 when the son was a few weeks old and had been found to have sustained 10 fractures to his ribs, both femurs and both tibias.

During subsequent care proceedings, the parents accepted that the father had caused the injuries. At a fact-finding hearing in April 2019, a judge found that the father had also been violent to the mother and that she had failed to take appropriate action, knowing that he posed a risk of harm, thereby placing herself, the child and two older half siblings at risk from his volatile behaviour.

In reaching those findings, the judge concluded that the parents were willing to lie when it suited them and had lied to the court about several matters, particularly about their relationship.

The son was placed in foster care. The foster carers subsequently applied to adopt him.

Following two adjournments owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, a judge heard (by way of written submissions) an application by the parents for leave to oppose the adoption on the basis of a change in circumstances.

He noted from the mother's witness statement that the parents had relocated, were happier and had improved their relationship; they had both sought help for depression and the father had undergone counselling for anger management from an organisation providing domestic abuse support for deaf people (both parents were profoundly deaf).

The judge granted leave for the parents to oppose the making of an adoption order for their son.

The local authority objected but the Court of Appeal upheld the judge’s decision, saying he had applied the correct legal principles.

If you would like more information or advice about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of family law please contact our expert legal team on 02080040065, by email at hello@southgate.co.uk or using the form below.

Case Citations: [2020] EWCA Civ 1287, RE Y (A CHILD) (LEAVE TO OPPOSE ADOPTION) sub nom A LOCAL AUTHORITY v (1) PROSPECTIVE ADOPTERS (2) A MOTHER (3) A FATHER (4) Y (BY HIS CHILDREN'S GUARDIAN) (2020) CA (Civ Div) (Underhill LJ, Henderson LJ, Baker LJ)

The contents of this article are general information only. The information in this article is not legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should obtain independent expert advice from qualified solicitors such as those within our firm.

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