Judge rejects adoption for 18 year-old girl

family law

The High Court has rejected an application for an 18 year-old Pakistani girl to be adopted by her maternal aunt.

After her parents’ divorce and her mother’s subsequent death from cancer, the girl moved to England where she has legally remained since. She was taken in by her mother’s sister, a British citizen, who applied to adopt the girl. Her application included a report from a social worker which was “very positive indeed and very strongly supportive of an adoption order being made”.

Mr Justice Holman said the girl was “clearly a person of great achievement” who had done “exceptionally well” at school having secured a place at Oxford University. After the “sad circumstances” which caused her to move to England, she now regarded her aunt as a parent and “strongly” desired the adoption.

Nevertheless the Judge informed the family that he could not give the young woman and her aunt what they wanted. Firstly, he noted that “no notice of this adoption application has been given to the Home Office”. As the adoption involved a citizen from another country, this was a required step in any such application even if “both the person to be adopted and the applicant are habitually resident in the United Kingdom”.

His other reason for refusing the application was the girl’s age. She turned 18 at the end of January this year so if she were to be adopted, the proceedings would have had to have been started before then. Unfortunately, the relevant documents were first issued in early February.

Mr Justice Holman concluded by expressing regret that he could not approve the aunt’s application as “the case for adoption in this case [did] seem to be clear and strong”.

Read Re A in full here.

Photo by Eldriva via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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1 comment

Andrew - May 19, 2017 at 8:07am

The right result – public policy requires that each and every application for adoption which could or would affect the immigration or citizenship status of the proposed adoptee be run by the Home Office.

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