Team Acted Pro Bono To Make Sure Adoption Application Could Proceed
Irwin Mitchell’s Family Law team have secured permission to pursue an adoption order in difficult circumstances where there was a question about whether the application could proceed.
In June 2018 Ms Z gave notice to her local authority that she intended to adopt A; triggering inquiries into Ms Z’s suitability by a social worker. For personal reasons Ms Z was not in a position to file her adoption application until February 2020.
Ms Z’s second application was not issued by the Court until 10 August 2020; that being two years and two months after Ms Z had given notice of her intention to adopt A in June 2018.
Unfortunately due to the length of time between giving notice and the application being issued, Ms Z’s application failed to comply with section 44 of the Adoption and Children Act – namely that notice to adopt must be given to the local authority not more than two years before the date on which the adoption application is made.
The judge determined it was in the welfare interests of A for the application for an adoption order to proceed, and that to do otherwise would be to deny A the transformative benefits of an adoption order; and that such outcome would be nonsensical and an affront to public policy.
Keehan J gave thanks in his judgment to barrister Louise MacLynn from 1 Garden Court and Irwin Mitchell for working on the case pro bono.
Expert Opinion“We were delighted to be able to act pro bono for Ms Z at the request of the court, alongside superb counsel Louise MacLynn in this important case.
“The implications for Ms Z and A of this application failing to proceed were harsh and stark; A had lived with Ms Z her entire life, and so to refuse the adoption on a technicality would have been heart-breaking for everyone involved.
“Fortunately the court approached the issues in a pragmatic and purposeful way, taking the opportunity to bring the approach to the statutory time limits in the Adoption and Children Act 2002 in line with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.
“We’re very pleased we’ve been able to help secure a positive result for Ms Z and A ahead of Christmas.” Jenna Lucas - Partner