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Re D (Children) (Adoption: Leave to Oppose)
 EWCA Civ 703;  Fam Law 1176
An authority dealing with the meaning of “family placement” and the circumstances in which evidence needs to be heard in proceedings relating to leave to oppose the making of adoption orders.
A mother’s application under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 s.47(5) for leave to oppose the making of adoption orders was refused where the children had already been placed for adoption with a family who had previously adopted their half-sister, whereas the mother supported a placement with the children’s uncle and aunt who had recently been approved as special guardians for the children’s full sister. The adoption was particularly urgent because of the consequence for the adoptive parents in returning to the US for work. There was no reason not to characterise the adoptive placement as a family placement or as fundamentally inferior to a placement with the uncle and aunt.
The Court of Appeal accepted that the Judge had applied the wrong test but commented that a judgment given ex tempore might be more robustly expressed or structured differently from one where more time had been available to prepare it, but that did not mean that the judge had given the case any less careful consideration. What mattered, ultimately, was the substance of the judgment read in its entirety.
Stephen acted for the appellant, instructed by VLS Solicitors.