X & Anor v M [2022] EWFC 168

Niamh Daly appeared on behalf of a local authority in a case concerning a non-agency adoption in which the adopters, and the relevant young person did not wish for the mother to be notified of the application.

The mother was serving a life sentence for murder in another jurisdiction (“Country A”) and had previously relinquished her parenting responsibility for the young person, which had been ratified by the court in Country A. 

The court had to consider whether the mother qualified as a parent within the meaning of the Adoption and Children Act 2002; and if so, whether the court should dispense with notice.

Mrs Justice Judd held that the order terminating the mother’s parental responsibility in Country A could and should be recognised in this jurisdiction. Therefore, the mother did not come within the meaning of s52(6) ACA 2002 and there was no requirement to serve her with the proceedings or to obtain or dispense with her consent to the adoption.

Even if the court had not concluded that the order in Country A had terminated the mother’s parental responsibility, Mrs Justice Judd expressed that the court would have exercised its power to remove the mother as a party without notice due to the ‘extraordinary and extreme circumstances’ of the case.

Full Judgment

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