ON APPEAL FROM CHELMSFORD COUNTY COURT
Mrs Justice PARKER
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
SIR JAMES MUNBY PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY DIVISION
LADY JUSTICE BLACK
|Re B-S (Children)|
Mr Alex Verdan QC (instructed by Baxter Harries Solicitors and Essex County Council) for the respondents (the adopters and the local authority)
Hearing date : 22 July 2013
Crown Copyright ©
Sir James Munby President of the Family Division :
The background facts
The statutory framework
"(1) An adoption order may not be made if the child has a parent or guardian unless one of the following three conditions is met; but this section is subject to section 52 (parental etc consent).
(2) The first condition is that, in the case of each parent or guardian of the child, the court is satisfied –
(a) that the parent or guardian consents to the making of the adoption order,(b) that the parent or guardian has consented under section 20 (and has not withdrawn the consent) and does not oppose the making of the adoption order, or(c) that the parent's or guardian's consent should be dispensed with.
(3) A parent or guardian may not oppose the making of an adoption order under subsection (2)(b) without the court's leave.
(4) The second condition is that –
(a) the child has been placed for adoption by an adoption agency with the prospective adopters in whose favour the order is proposed to be made,(b) either –(i) the child was placed for adoption with the consent of each parent or guardian and the consent of the mother was given when the child was at least six weeks old, or(ii) the child was placed for adoption under a placement order, and(c) no parent or guardian opposes the making of the adoption order.
(5) A parent or guardian may not oppose the making of an adoption order under the second condition without the court's leave.
(7) The court cannot give leave under subsection (3) or (5) unless satisfied that there has been a change in circumstances since the consent of the parent or guardian was given or, as the case may be, the placement order was made."
"The effect if leave is given to oppose is that the case can no longer proceed as it was doing under "the second condition" in s 47(4), and the adoption application would fall to be determined at a full hearing under which the "first condition" in s 47(2) would be in play, with the question of whether the child's welfare requires dispensing with parental consent to adoption being determined at that hearing in the light of the circumstances that then exist."
Adoption – the wider context
Adoption – fundamental principles
"Intervention in the family may be appropriate, but the aim should be to reunite the family when the circumstances enable that, and the effort should be devoted towards that end. Cutting off all contact and the relationship between the child or children and their family is only justified by the overriding necessity of the interests of the child."
To this we need only add what the Strasbourg court said in YC v United Kingdom (2012) 55 EHRR 33, para 134:
"family ties may only be severed in very exceptional circumstances and … everything must be done to preserve personal relations and, where appropriate, to 'rebuild' the family. It is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment for his upbringing."
"the court should begin with a preference for the less interventionist rather than the more interventionist approach. This should be considered to be in the better interests of the children … unless there are cogent reasons to the contrary."
"Section 52(1) is concerned with adoption – the making of either a placement order or an adoption order – and what therefore has to be shown is that the child's welfare 'requires' adoption as opposed to something short of adoption. A child's circumstances may 'require' statutory intervention, perhaps may even 'require' the indefinite or long-term removal of the child from the family and his or her placement with strangers, but that is not to say that the same circumstances will necessarily 'require' that the child be adopted. They may or they may not. The question, at the end of the day, is whether what is 'required' is adoption."
"It will be the duty of everyone to ensure that, in those cases where a supervision order is proportionate as a response to the risk presented, a supervision order can be made to work, as indeed the framers of the Children Act 1989 always hoped that it would be made to work. The local authorities must deliver the services that are needed and must secure that other agencies, including the health service, also play their part, and the parents must co-operate fully."
That was said in the context of supervision orders but the point is of wider application.
Adoption – our concerns
"The concerns that I have about the process in this case are concerns which have also been evident to a greater or lesser extent in a significant number of other cases; they are concerns which are now given sharper focus following the very clear wake-up call given by the Supreme Court in Re B."
Adoption – essentials
Adoption – essentials: (i) proper evidence
"evidence of the lack of alternative options for the children and an analysis of the evidence that is accepted by the court sufficient to drive it to the conclusion that nothing short of adoption is appropriate for the children."
The same judge indicated in Re S, K v The London Borough of Brent  EWCA Civ 926, para 21, that what is needed is:
"An assessment of the benefits and detriments of each option for placement and in particular the nature and extent of the risk of harm involved in each of the options".
McFarlane LJ made the same point in Re G (A Child)  EWCA Civ 965, para 48, when he identified:
"the need to take into account the negatives, as well as the positives, of any plan to place a child away from her natural family".
We agree with all of this.
"I have searched without success in the papers for any written analysis by local authority witnesses or the guardian of the arguments for and against adoption and long term fostering … It is not the first time that I have remarked on an absence of such material from the evidence, see Plymouth CC v G (children)  EWCA Civ 1271. Care should always be taken to address this question specifically in the evidence/ reports and that this was not done here will not have assisted the judge in his determination of the issue."
In the Plymouth case she had said this (para 47):
"In some respects the reports of the guardian and the social worker, and the social worker's statement, are very detailed, giving information about health and likes and dislikes, wishes and feelings. However there is surprisingly little detail about the central issue of the type of placement that will best meet the children's needs … In part, this may be an unfortunate by-product of the entirely proper use, by both witnesses, of the checklist of factors and, in the case of the social worker's placement report, of the required pro forma. However, the court requires not only a list of the factors that are relevant to the central decision but also a narrative account of how they fit together, including an analysis of the pros and cons of the various orders that might realistically be under consideration given the circumstances of the children, and a fully reasoned recommendation."
"22 … what was the evidence that was available to the judge to support her conclusion? … Sadly, there was little or no evidence about the relative merits of the placement options nor any evidence about why an adoptive placement was necessary or feasible.
23 The allocated social worker in her written statement recommended that [S] needed:
"a permanent placement where her on-going needs will be met in a safe, stable and nurturing environment. [S]'s permanent carers will need to demonstrate that they are committed to [S], her safety, welfare and wellbeing and that they ensure that she receives a high standard of care until she reaches adulthood
Adoption will give [S] the security and permanency that she requires. The identified carers are experienced carers and have good knowledge about children and the specific needs of children that have been removed from their families …"
24 With respect to the social worker … that without more is not a sufficient rationale for a step as significant as permanent removal from the birth family for adoption. The reasoning was in the form of a conclusion that needed to be supported by evidence relating to the facts of the case and a social worker's expert analysis of the benefits and detriments of the placement options available. Fairness dictates that whatever the local authority's final position, their evidence should address the negatives and the positives relating to each of the options available. Good practice would have been to have heard evidence about the benefits and detriments of each of the permanent placement options that were available for S within and outside the family.
25 The independent social worker did not support adoption or removal but did describe the options which were before the court when the mediation opportunity was allowed:
"Special Guardianship Order: This is the application before the Court and which would afford [S] stability, in terms of remaining with the same primary carer and the opportunity to be raised within her birth family. I do not consider that the situation within the family is suitable at present for this Order to be made.
Adoption: [S] could be placed with a family where she should experience stability and security without conflict. This may be the best option for [S] if current concerns cannot be resolved in a timely manner."
26 In order to choose between the options the judge needed evidence which was not provided. The judge's conclusion was a choice of one option over another that was neither reasoned nor evidenced within the proceedings. That vitiated her evaluative judgment which was accordingly wrong."
Adoption – essentials: (ii) adequately reasoned judgments
"the judge … failed to carry out a proper balancing exercise in order to determine whether it was necessary to make a care order with a care plan of adoption and then a placement order or, if she did carry out that analysis, it is not apparent from her judgments. Putting it another way, she did not carry out a proportionality analysis."
She added (para 124): "there is little acknowledgment in the judge's judgments of the fact that adoption is a last resort and little consideration of what it was that justified it in this case."
"In most child care cases a choice will fall to be made between two or more options. The judicial exercise should not be a linear process whereby each option, other than the most draconian, is looked at in isolation and then rejected because of internal deficits that may be identified, with the result that, at the end of the line, the only option left standing is the most draconian and that is therefore chosen without any particular consideration of whether there are internal deficits within that option.
The linear approach … is not apt where the judicial task is to undertake a global, holistic evaluation of each of the options available for the child's future upbringing before deciding which of those options best meets the duty to afford paramount consideration to the child's welfare."
We need not quote the next paragraph in McFarlane LJ's judgment, which explains in graphic and compelling terms the potential danger of adopting a linear approach.
"What is required is a balancing exercise in which each option is evaluated to the degree of detail necessary to analyse and weigh its own internal positives and negatives and each option is then compared, side by side, against the competing option or options."
"a process which acknowledges that long-term public care, and in particular adoption contrary to the will of a parent, is 'the most draconian option', yet does not engage with the very detail of that option which renders it 'draconian' cannot be a full or effective process of evaluation. Since the phrase was first coined some years ago, judges now routinely make reference to the 'draconian' nature of permanent separation of parent and child and they frequently do so in the context of reference to 'proportionality'. Such descriptions are, of course, appropriate and correct, but there is a danger that these phrases may inadvertently become little more than formulaic judicial window-dressing if they are not backed up with a substantive consideration of what lies behind them and the impact of that on the individual child's welfare in the particular case before the court. If there was any doubt about the importance of avoiding that danger, such doubt has been firmly swept away by the very clear emphasis in Re B on the duty of the court actively to evaluate proportionality in every case."
Adoption – the current reforms to the family justice system
Section 47(5) of the 2002 Act
Section 47(5) of the 2002 Act – Re P
"In our judgment, analysis of the statutory language in ss 1 and 47 of the 2002 Act leads to the conclusion that an application for leave to defend adoption proceedings under s 47(5) of the 2002 Act involves a two-stage process. First of all, the court has to be satisfied, on the facts of the case, that there has been a change in circumstances within s 47(7). If there has been no change in circumstances, that is the end of the matter, and the application fails. If, however, there has been a change in circumstances within s 47(7) then the door to the exercise of a judicial discretion to permit the parents to defend the adoption proceedings is opened, and the decision whether or not to grant leave is governed by s 1 of the 2002 Act. In other words, 'the paramount consideration of the court must be the child's welfare throughout his life'."
"The change in circumstances since the placement order was made must … be of a nature and degree sufficient, on the facts of the particular case, to open the door to the exercise of the judicial discretion to permit the parents to defend the adoption proceedings."
He added (para 32):
"We do, however, take the view that the test should not be set too high, because, as this case demonstrates, parents in the position of S's parents should not be discouraged either from bettering themselves or from seeking to prevent the adoption of their child by the imposition of a test which is unachievable. We therefore take the view that whether or not there has been a relevant change in circumstances must be a matter of fact to be decided by the good sense and sound judgment of the tribunal hearing the application."
"Thus, even if the parents are able, on the facts, to identify a change in circumstances sufficient to make it appropriate for the judge to consider whether or not to exercise his discretion to permit the parents to defend the adoption proceedings, the paramount consideration of the court in the actual exercise of the discretion must be the welfare of S throughout her life and, in that context, the court must have regard in particular to the matters set out in s 1(4) of the 2002 Act."
"when exercising his discretion under s 47(5) of the 2002 Act the judge was fully entitled – indeed bound – to give considerable weight to the fact that, from the date of the care order (May 2006) until the date of the hearing of the application for leave to defend the adoption proceedings (April 2007), a period of nearly a year, the plan for S had been adoption; that the plan had, moreover, been implemented by S's placement with the applicants in July 2006, and that it was a plan which was working."
Section 47(5) of the 2002 Act – Re W
"once an adoption application is challenged by the natural parent at a very late stage, it is easy to see that to avert the progress, the completion of the progress to adoption, the applicant has to clear three fences which can be seen to be progressively higher fences. The first is to establish the necessary change of circumstances. The second is then to satisfy the court that, in the exercise of discretion, it would be right to grant permission. The third and final stage would, of course, be to persuade the court at the opposed hearing to refuse the adoption order and to reverse the direction in which the child's life has travelled since the inception of the original public law care proceedings."
We do not read that as in any way contradicting what had earlier been said in Re P, to which of course Thorpe LJ had been party.
"it seems plain to me in reading that that the "third and final stage" referred to relates to the full adoption hearing if the parent is given leave to oppose. It does not relate to the decision whether or not leave to appeal the adoption should be granted."
"where a judge exercises a broad discretion as to whether or not permission should be granted at the second stage under s 47(5), the judge must have great regard to the impact of the grant of permission on the child within the context of the adoptive family. Of course, each case will depend upon its particular facts. The present case may be said to be a strong case in the sense that the mother had had no sight of J since the summer of 2007. J had been placed for over a year. J had been told of and had reacted to the making of the adoption order in the spring. To put all these seemingly solid steps into melting question would inevitably have a profoundly upsetting effect on the adopters and the child. So such a consequence should surely not be contemplated unless the applicant for permission demonstrates prospects of success that are not just fanciful and not just measurable. In my opinion, they should have substance. Perhaps, to borrow from the language of Lord Collins of Mapesbury in another sphere, they should have solidity."
"I have concluded that there is a real possibility (I do not say probability) that after due investigation, assessment and reconsideration a court will conclude that he can even now return to his mother and should not be adopted."
He contrasted that with what McFarlane J, as he then was, had said in X and Y v A Local Authority (Adoption: Procedure)  EWHC 47 (Fam),  2 FLR 984, para 15:
"On the information that is before the court it seems entirely improbable that this mother could persuade the court not only that there had been a change of circumstances sufficient to justify giving her leave to oppose the adoption but also that the court would hold that to give her leave was in the children's best interests (the test that has to be applied: Re P)."
Thorpe LJ continued (para 28):
"The language of McFarlane J seems to me much more to reflect the stringent approach that I consider necessary. The language of Holman J in this case seems to me to adopt altogether too permissive an approach."
"under the statutory regime the natural parent who has lost a child to a care order and a placement order has the limited right to apply to set aside the care order and the placement order prior to placement. So, turning to the chronology in this case, the mother's window of opportunity to apply to set aside the placement order existed between 16 June 2008 and 25 February 2009. The making of the adoption application in the county court gave the mother a new opportunity, namely to apply for permission to oppose the adoption application."
With that there can be absolutely no quarrel. It brings out the unhappy fact – unhappy, that is, for a parent – that the parental right to apply under section 24(2) for leave to revoke a placement order comes to an end when the child is placed for adoption and that thereafter the parent can do nothing until there is an application for an adoption order. It is the next part which is problematic:
"However, it cannot be too strongly emphasised that that is an absolute last ditch opportunity and it will only be in exceptionally rare circumstances that permission will be granted after the making of the care order, the making of the placement order, the placement of the child, and the issue of the adoption order application."
"No one can have anything but the profoundest sympathy for this mother who seems to have turned her life round in the course of the last two years and to have conquered her addiction to hard drugs. If the court was in the business of rewarding parents for effort in these circumstances no doubt, she would succeed and retain the effect of the Holman J order. However, whilst she has been sorting out her life, her child's life has inevitably moved on in her absence. He has not seen her for three years and is now completely embedded in his new family. To unravel the whole process through which the child and the adopters have passed since the child's original removal and placement is quite simply a horrendous prospect both from the point of view of the adopters but more importantly the child himself. It seems to me that it is "entirely improbable", to adopt the words of McFarlane J in the case of X and Y v a Local Authority, that the mother would in the end succeed in overturning the adoption order much less the overall plan for adoption so that the child would return to live with her. Even to embark on the process cannot be in his best interests, let alone actually to remove the child from his current home. I doubt it is really in the mother's interest either, merely having the effect of raising false hope for it to be dashed later."
"Before Judge Redgrave, the appellant had to clear two fences. First, he had to establish (as he did) the necessary change of circumstances referred to in section 47(7) of the 2002 Act; second, he then had to satisfy the court that, in the exercise of discretion, it would be right to grant permission: Re W (Adoption Order: Set Aside and Leave to Oppose)  EWCA Civ 1535,  1 FLR 2153, para . In relation to the second, the question fell to be decided by the application of section 1 of the 2002 Act to the facts of the case, so the paramount consideration for the court was C's welfare throughout his life: Re P (Adoption: Leave Provisions)  EWCA Civ 616,  1 WLR 2556,  2 FLR 1069, paras , .
At this stage a "stringent approach" was required: Re W, para , approving the approach adopted by McFarlane J, as he then was, in X and Y v A Local Authority (Adoption: Procedure)  EWHC 47 (Fam),  2 FLR 984, para ."
Explaining why the appeal had to be dismissed the President said (para 37):
"Standing back from all the detail, the reality is that the appellant has no relationship with C, indeed has never even seen him, and that C has now been settled for over two years with the adopters. How can we, how could any judge, take the risk of disturbing that?"
"Having read those judgments, and having read the Court of Appeal decision in Re W, I am concerned that the test in Re W may now need to be reconsidered in the light of the approach to adoption which has been restated in these very clear terms by the Supreme Court. In particular, I am concerned that the words of my Lord … where he describes as "exceptionally rare" a parent succeeding in an application of this sort may no longer be tenable."
"Particularly I have in mind that a parent can only be in the position of making an application under section 47(5) if there has been a care order, a placement order, the placement of the child for adoption and an adoption application being lodged. Those are the very circumstances that trigger the jurisdiction under section 47(5)."
We agree, and add a point to which we have already drawn attention: section 42(2) requires the child to have been living with the prospective adopters for at least 10 weeks before the application for an adoption order can be made.
Section 47(5) of the 2002 Act – fundamentals
Section 47(5) of the 2002 Act – the proper approach
i) Prospect of success here relates to the prospect of resisting the making of an adoption order, not, we emphasise, the prospect of ultimately having the child restored to the parent's care.
ii) For purposes of exposition and analysis we treat as two separate issues the questions of whether there has been a change in circumstances and whether the parent has solid grounds for seeking leave. Almost invariably, however, they will be intertwined; in many cases the one may very well follow from the other.
iii) Once he or she has got to the point of concluding that there has been a change of circumstances and that the parent has solid grounds for seeking leave, the judge must consider very carefully indeed whether the child's welfare really does necessitate the refusal of leave. The judge must keep at the forefront of his mind the teaching of Re B, in particular that adoption is the "last resort" and only permissible if "nothing else will do" and that, as Lord Neuberger emphasised, the child's interests include being brought up by the parents or wider family unless the overriding requirements of the child's welfare make that not possible. That said, the child's welfare is paramount.
iv) At this, as at all other stages in the adoption process, the judicial evaluation of the child's welfare must take into account all the negatives and the positives, all the pros and cons, of each of the two options, that is, either giving or refusing the parent leave to oppose. Here again, as elsewhere, the use of Thorpe LJ's 'balance sheet' is to be encouraged.
v) This close focus on the circumstances requires that the court has proper evidence. But this does not mean that judges will always need to hear oral evidence and cross-examination before coming to a conclusion. Sometimes, though we suspect not very often, the judge will be assisted by oral evidence. Typically, however, an application for leave under section 47(5) can fairly and should appropriately be dealt with on the basis of written evidence and submissions: see Re P paras 53-54.
vi) As a general proposition, the greater the change in circumstances (assuming, of course, that the change is positive) and the more solid the parent's grounds for seeking leave to oppose, the more cogent and compelling the arguments based on the child's welfare must be if leave to oppose is to be refused.
vii) The mere fact that the child has been placed with prospective adopters cannot be determinative, nor can the mere passage of time. On the other hand, the older the child and the longer the child has been placed the greater the adverse impacts of disturbing the arrangements are likely to be.
viii) The judge must always bear in mind that what is paramount in every adoption case is the welfare of the child "throughout his life". Given modern expectation of life, this means that, with a young child, one is looking far ahead into a very distant future – upwards of eighty or even ninety years. Against this perspective, judges must be careful not to attach undue weight to the short term consequences for the child if leave to oppose is given. In this as in other contexts, judges should be guided by what Sir Thomas Bingham MR said in Re O (Contact: Imposition of Conditions)  2 FLR 124, 129, that "the court should take a medium-term and long-term view of the child's development and not accord excessive weight to what appear likely to be short-term or transient problems." That was said in the context of contact but it has a much wider resonance: Re G (Education: Religious Upbringing)  EWCA Civ 1233,  1 FLR 677, para 26.
ix) Almost invariably the judge will be pressed with the argument that leave to oppose should be refused, amongst other reasons, because of the adverse impact on the prospective adopters, and thus on the child, of their having to pursue a contested adoption application. We do not seek to trivialise an argument which may in some cases have considerable force, particularly perhaps in a case where the child is old enough to have some awareness of what is going on. But judges must be careful not to attach undue weight to the argument. After all, what from the perspective of the proposed adopters was the smoothness of the process which they no doubt anticipated when issuing their application with the assurance of a placement order, will already have been disturbed by the unwelcome making of the application for leave to oppose. And the disruptive effects of an order giving a parent leave to oppose can be minimised by firm judicial case management before the hearing of the application for leave. If appropriate directions are given, in particular in relation to the expert and other evidence to be adduced on behalf of the parent, as soon as the application for leave is issued and before the question of leave has been determined, it ought to be possible to direct either that the application for leave is to be listed with the substantive adoption application to follow immediately, whether or not leave is given, or, if that is not feasible, to direct that the substantive application is to be listed, whether or not leave has been given, very shortly after the leave hearing.
x) We urge judges always to bear in mind the wise and humane words of Wall LJ in Re P, para 32. We have already quoted them but they bear repetition: "the test should not be set too high, because … parents … should not be discouraged either from bettering themselves or from seeking to prevent the adoption of their child by the imposition of a test which is unachievable."
The appellate approach
"32 The second aspect of the Supreme Court decision in Re B which is relevant to the present appeal arises from their lordships' clarification of the necessary role of an appellate court where there is a challenge to the proportionality of a public law order authorising local authority intervention under CA 1989. Whilst the type of intervention considered in Re B was adoption, in my view the approach to be deployed must similarly apply to lesser forms of intervention. On this aspect the majority of the Justices (Lord Neuberger, Lord Clarke and Lord Wilson) concluded that the duty on a court, as a 'public authority', not to act in a manner which is incompatible with the Convention under Human Rights Act 1998, s 6(1) does not mandate the appellate court to undertake a fresh determination of a Convention-related issue (paragraphs 37, 83 to 90 and 136). The majority did not therefore hold that there was a need for a radical departure from the conventional domestic concept of a 'review' of a case on appeal, as opposed to a full re-appraisal on the issue of proportionality. The traditional appellate approach to issues of pure judicial discretion has been that of recognising the generous ambit of reasonable disagreement and only intervening where the judge's decision is seen to be outside that ambit and is 'plainly wrong' (per G v G  1 WLR 647). All five SCJs however identified that that ('plainly wrong') approach does not apply to an appellate review of the evaluative determination of whether the s 31 threshold is crossed; such a review is to be conducted by reference simply to whether the determination is 'wrong' (paragraphs 44, 91, 138 and 145).
33 Moving on from consideration of the s 31 threshold criteria, all five SCJs were agreed that the task of a trial judge making the ultimate determination of whether to make a care order was 'more than to exercise a discretion' (Lord Wilson SCJ, paragraph 45). The trial judge's task is to comply with an obligation under HRA 1998, s 6(1) not to determine the application in a way which is incompatible with the Art 8 rights that are engaged. The majority in the Supreme Court went on from that unanimous position relating to the role of the trial judge, to hold that 'the review which … falls to be conducted by the appellate court must focus not just on the judge's exercise of discretion but on his compliance or otherwise with an obligation' (paragraph 45). The 'plainly wrong' criteria in G v G being held to be 'inapt' for such a review."
"Because of the obligation of the trial judge not to determine the matter in a way which is incompatible with article 8 ECHR, the review by the appellate court must focus not just on the judge's exercise of his discretion in making a care order but also on his compliance or otherwise with that obligation"
"There is a danger in over-analysis, but I would add this. An appellate judge may conclude that the trial judge's conclusion on proportionality was (i) the only possible view, (ii) a view which she considers was right, (iii) a view on which she has doubts, but on balance considers was right, (iv) a view which she cannot say was right or wrong, (v) a view on which she has doubts, but on balance considers was wrong, (vi) a view which she considers was wrong, or (vii) a view which is unsupportable."
He went on to say that the appeal must be dismissed if the appellate judge's view is in category (i) to (iv) and allowed if it is in category (v) to (vii).
"Re B concerned decisions under the CA 1989 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002 making public law orders relating to children which plainly engaged the right to family life protection enshrined in ECHR, Article 8. It may well be that not all orders under CA 1989 relating to children will be of sufficient import to engage Art 8 (for example an order which merely defines the time of day and/or place for contact), but the impact of Art 8 is by no means confined to public law orders. There will be a range of private law children orders which engage Art 8 and which must now be approached on appeal in the manner established by the majority of the Supreme Court in Re B. It is not necessary for the purposes of this judgment to establish where the outer limit of this 'range' may be, and I expressly do not intend to do so, but an order refusing all direct contact between parent and child must plainly be on the Re B side of the boundary."
Parker J's judgment
"It is obvious that the children had terrible experiences … [children] who have had these experiences are going to behave in a way that is sometimes aggressive, unsettled, easily upset … in many respects they are beginning to recover from these experiences, but any upset brings the risk that they will behave in the way in which they were described when originally placed, emotionally deregulated … It seems obvious that now they are in a house they think of as their home, they are bound to have made attachments with their new family."
The grounds of appeal
Note 1 This case, the aftermath of Down Lisburn Health and Social Services Trust and another v H and another  UKHL 36, involved a freeing order under the Northern Ireland equivalent of the Adoption Act 1976 rather than a placement order under the 2002 Act but the principles are the same. [Back]
Note 1 This case, the aftermath of Down Lisburn Health and Social Services Trust and another v H and another  UKHL 36, involved a freeing order under the Northern Ireland equivalent of the Adoption Act 1976 rather than a placement order under the 2002 Act but the principles are the same. [Back]