Family Law Week judgment summary: Re N (children: revocation of placement orders) [2023] EWCA Civ 1352

08 December 2023

Dr Martina Van der Leij summarises a judgment for Family Law Week where a mother appealed against the dismissal of her application to revoke placement orders and for an independent social worker to be instructed. The appeal was dismissed.

The Court of Appeal's decision offers guidance about the revocation of placement orders concerning best interests, burden of proof and evidence.

Once leave is granted the decision under s 24 (1) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (revocation of placement orders) is a welfare decision. In other words: is it in the children’s best interests for the placement orders to be revoked?

The relevant principles to apply are as set out in Re C (Children) (placement order: revocation) [2020] EWCA Civ 1598

The burden of proof is on the applicant to show that maintaining a placement order is not in the children’s best interests.

In respect of evidence, although the substantive principles surrounding adoption are constant between applications for placement orders and applications for revocation, the evidential picture will not usually be the same. The court has already made findings about events preceding the placement orders.  The focus at a revocation hearing will be on events since then, and on the future.

View the summary of the judgment on Family Law Week.