Dennis Sharpe succeeds in revoking an adoption under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court

13 August 2015

This “highly exceptional” order was made under the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction allowing the revocation of an adoption and for the applicant to change her last name. The case involved a 14 year old girl who had been adopted at almost 4 years old by Mr and Mrs K but within 2 years of the adoption had been sent to live with extended family in Ghana. The girl has stated that during her time in Ghana she was subjected to significant abuse before returning to England in July 2014, when she was reunited with her biological mother and grandmother. The Proceedings began after the girl became a ward of court following her own application in August 2014. Prior to this order the girl’s biological mother had been granted interim and then later full care and control. It was stated that Mr and Mrs K had relinquished responsibility for the girl although they did attend the early wardship proceedings they did not raise any objection to the girl living with her biological mother. More significantly to this order they failed to provide a response to the girl’s solicitors in regards to the two applications which acted in favour of the orders being granted.

Mrs Justice Pauffley stated “Whilst I altogether accept that public policy considerations ordinarily militate against revoking properly made adoption orders, and rightly so, instances can and do arise where it is appropriate so to do. This case, it seems to me, falls well within the range of ‘highly exceptional and very particular’ such that I can exercise my discretion to make the revocation order sought.”

The case has been covered by The Guardian and The Mirror.