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19 FEB 2013

ADOPTION: RCW v A Local Authority [2013] EWHC 235 (Fam)

(Family Division, Cobb J, 12 February 2013)

The child was born at 27 weeks gestation weighing just 1kg. She was abandoned by her mother immediately and spent many months in hospital under specialist nursing care. Upon discharge she was placed in foster care and then with a prospective adopter, a single professional woman.

The woman was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumour for which she received surgery which left her blind. She nevertheless made an application for an adoption order after the child had been with her for 10 weeks. However, the local authority sought removal of the child from her care and warned the woman that she would be committing a criminal offence if she did not deliver up the child. The woman sought injunctive relief.

Application allowed. The local authority had failed to give the woman an opportunity to address their concerns of the child's care. That had resulted in a breach of the woman's rights under Art 6 and 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 and of the common law principle of fairness. The woman had made entirely appropriate arrangements for the child whilst she had surgery and the local authority accepted the level of physical care had been good so far. Injunctive relief was provided.


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