All members of the Public Law team have extensive experience in cases involving the possible placement of children for adoption and in adoption proceedings themselves. If younger children cannot be returned home or placed with a relative at the conclusion of care proceedings, the local authority will often seek to place such children for adoption. This requires a placement order unless parental consent has previously been obtained. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 replaced older legislation dating from the 1970s and provides the structure by which all modern adoption decisions are made. It has also generated a substantial amount of appellate work in which many of our members have been involved.
The placement of children for adoption can be complicated not least because there is often a significant delay between the conclusion of the court proceedings and the child’s eventual placement. During that period of time birth parents may manage to improve their position to the point where they can realistically argue for the child to return home. All our Public Law members are experienced in applications to revoke placement orders.
We also have extensive experience in adoption proceedings themselves, typically where permission is sought by a birth parent to oppose an adoption order but also in those cases where a foster-parent seeks to adopt a child placed in their care.
Some adoptive placements experience upheavals and breakdowns. In those circumstances the legal status of the child may change again. We have been involved in a number of such cases including those in which damages are sought against a local authority for breach of its statutory duties or the child’s or birth family’s human rights.
The majority of our Public Law team are skilled and experienced in international children law and are well placed to undertake international adoption work. These cases typically involve applications to recognise foreign adoptions as valid in this jurisdiction.