25th Jun 2015 | News
The President handed down judgment on 19 June 2015 in Re S and T (children)  EWHC 1753 (Fam) determining that it is possible to dispense with parental consent in a Hague convention adoption in the absence of public law proceedings but declining to do so on the facts of the case.
The father abducted the children to Pakistan in December 2012 following mother’s diagnosis with cancer. In March 2013, they were returned to their mother’s care in England pursuant to orders of the English and Pakistani courts. Their mother died in September 2013 and the children were cared for in England by the maternal family. In April 2014, a maternal aunt and uncle who are resident in Chicago issued an application in the High Court for the children to live with them in the USA. Father returned to England to contest the proceedings and in October 2014 Sir Peter Singer made a number of findings mostly adverse to the father. The maternal aunt and uncle were then advised that in order to satisfy USA immigration requirements, they would need to adopt the children. The children’s guardian reported in December 2014 that: “If there was no one but the children’s father to care for them it is likely that despite his deficits he might be considered good enough. However there is an alternative, [adoption by the maternal aunt and uncle, and] I take the view … that this is preferable and in the children’s best lifelong interests.” The local authority refused to issue public law proceedings and the matter came before the President for decision on the maternal aunt and uncle’s application for an order pursuant to section 84 Adoption and Children Act 2002 prior to proposed adoption in the USA. At the date of the hearing in May 2015, the children had been living with the prospective adopters in Chicago for nine months.
The President found that:
The judgment can be found here.