Landmark Case in Adoption Proceedings

January 20, 2015

Caroline Ford and Andrew Wynne acted for the genetic father and paternal aunt respectfully in an application by prospective adopters for an adoption order. Those family members were unknown at the time of the original care proceedings. The Local Authority and other professionals failed to undertake appropriate enquiries as to the true ethnicity or paternity of the child. The genetic father came forward and opposed the making of the adoption order alongside the paternal aunt who was assessed as being more than capable of meeting her nephew’s needs.

After a harrowing week of evidence which included hearing evidence from the family members and the prospective adopters, Holman J revoked the Placement Order with a plan of placing the child with the paternal aunt.

Holman J considered that it was positively better for the child to be moved to his natural family rather than remain with the potential adopters, in whose care the child had been for over a year. Holman J described this case (and decision) as ‘extremely painful’, appreciating the ‘intense grief it will cause to the potential adopters and their extended family’.

In this matter Andrew Wynne acted pro bono. Holman J said:
“As well as thanking the parties and witnesses, I thank all six advocates for the sensitive, balanced and skilled ways in which they presented their respective clients’ cases. I particularly thank Mr Andrew Wynne… and their instructing solicitors, who have acted pro bono, that is, entirely free of charge. As the case occupied five long days in court, as well as requiring considerable out-of-court work and preparation, they have shown great public service.”

It is understood that this is the successful first case of its kind.

Click here to read the Judgment.