H v An Adoption Agency

December 14, 2020

Lorraine Cavanagh QC led Eleanor Keehan in a case before Mr Justice McDonald in H v An Adoption Agency (Declaration of Parentage Following Adoption) [2020] EWFC 74. The novel issue in the case was whether the Family Court has jurisdiction to grant a declaration of parentage in respect of a natural father where the child had been adopted years prior to the application and her ties with her natural family had been severed.

Detailed legal argument centred upon:

a) the interplay between the Family Law Act 1986 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002

b) the meaning of parenthood and parentage and relevant case law

c) Human Rights Act implications

d) the potential procedural lacunas in the legislation (including the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953) and the Family Procedure Rules 2010.

The Court determined that it did have such jurisdiction.