The issue with which the appeal was concerned was the decision to join a child’s foster parents, who had a wish to adopt the child, to the care proceedings.
It transpired that there were two potential sets of adoptees – the foster carers, and a cousin and her partner (the latter who were identified late in the proceedings). The local authority were supporting the cousin and partner at that stage. The foster carers had made an application to adopt, which had not been validly made at the time of the initial hearing. The judge took the view that the foster carers should be joined as there was nobody else who could effectively put their case, in contrast to the cousin. The local authority appealed against this decision. At the time of this judgment, both couples had been approved as adopters.
The case also concerned the division of responsibilities between the court and local authority when it came to adoption in these very unique circumstances where a placement order application was not being made without adopters being identified, but where there were two prospective adopters. The issue arose as to whether the court should determine this as part of its final welfare decision, or if it should be left to the local authority as part of their statutory functions.
Read the full summary on Family Law Week.