Re S (A Child) (Adoption and Contact Applications: Representation of Child) (Also known as KS v MW)

Citation

[2015] EWCA Civ 649, [2015] Fam Law 1041

An authority dealing with bias arising from professional connections between a party and an expert, step parent adoption, the need to appoint a guardian in non-agency adoption proceedings, and the judge’s duty to make findings of fact and ensure a fair process, even where the parties agree “shortcuts”.
A step-parent adoption and order for no contact overturned because the hearing had been procedurally irregular for the following reasons:

(a)   failure to appoint a Guardian and discharging of the child as a party, thereby removing the child’s voice from the process.

(b)   Limitation of oral evidence, preventing the father’s case from being adequately aired.

(c)    An unacceptable perception of bias arising from the social worker being employed by the same local authority as the mother, and having failed to deal adequately with concerns about the mother.

Failure by the court to make findings about disputed facts between the parties.

Stephen acted for the successful appellant, instructed by Platt Halpern Solicitors.

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