Nick Goodwin QC, Matthew Brookes-Baker and Justine Ramsden succeed in the Court of Appeal


27th Nov 2018 | News


Three members of Harcourt Chambers appeared before the Court of Appeal, successfully opposing the appeal. Nick Goodwin QC acted for Warwickshire County Council, Justine Ramsden for the prospective adopters and Matthew Brookes-Baker for the child.

The case concerned the application of Section 51A of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and whether a change in approach to post-adoption contact was necessary in light of two studies, challenging the orthodox approach of ‘closed’ adoption. The first is the 2018 publication of the British Association of Social Workers, ‘The Role of the Social Worker in Adoption – Ethics and Human Rights: An Enquiry’, by Professor Brid Featherstone and Professor Anna Gupta. The second is the 2018 study commissioned by the University of East Anglia, “Contact After Adoption: a longitudinal study of adoptive and birth families” by Professor Elsbeth Neil.

Lady Justice King granted the birth parents permission to appeal under the second limb of CPR Rule 52.6(1)(b) – there being some compelling reason for the appeal to be heard.

The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of HHJ Watson to refuse the birth parents application for a post-adoption contact order. The Court reserved judgement as it was acknowledged that there is a need for the Court to give guidance on the important issues raised in this appeal.

The judgement can be found here.


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