*Re P (a child) (adoption order: leave to oppose making of adoption order)
Case date: 27 June 2007
The child was removed from her parents by means of an emergency protection order. Care proceedings were instituted by the local authority, and a care order was made. The authority’s care plan was for the child to be adopted by strangers. Subsequently, a placement order was made under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, section 21. The child was placed with her prospective adopters, who issued proceedings to adopt her.
The parents applied for leave to oppose the making of the adoption order, asserting that there had been a change in circumstances since the placement order was made, within the terms of section 47(7) of the 2002 Act, sufficient for the judge to give them leave.
The judge rejected the application, stating (i) that he was not satisfied that there had been a sufficient change in circumstances to cross the threshold for giving leave and, alternatively, (ii) that the child’s welfare, which he found to be his paramount consideration, required that she be adopted.
The father appealed against this decision and an issue arose as to the meaning of section 1(7) of the 2002 Act, and whether or not the decision to grant or refuse leave to defend adoption proceedings within section 1(7)(b) included ‘any action … which may be taken … by an individual under this Act’.
Section 1(7) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 provides: ‘In this section, “coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child”, in relation to a court, includes—(a) coming to a decision in any proceedings where the orders that might be made by the court include an adoption order (or the revocation of such an order), a placement order (or the revocation of such an order) or an order under section 26 (or the revocation or variation of such an order), (b) coming to a decision about granting leave in respect of any action (other than the initiation of proceedings in any court) which may be taken by an adoption agency or individual under this Act, but does not include coming to a decision about granting leave in any other circumstances.’
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