Maria Hancock and Christopher Stringer provided a Family Law Seminar for WMC Legal LLP.

The Seminar discussed several Family Law topics; Revocation of Placement Orders/Discharge of Care Orders/Opposing Adoption.

When is a change of circumstances sufficient;

1)            Apply for permission to revoke a Placement Order;

2)            Apply to Discharge a Care Order;

3)            Apply for permission to oppose an Adoption Order.

Discussion of N (Children: Revocation of Placement Orders) [2023] EWCA1352 and Re C (Children) (Revocation of Placement Orders) [2020] EWCA Civ 1598)

The following principles can be distilled from the relevant authorities

  1. the paramount consideration for a court when considering an outcome for a child is that child’s welfare;
  2. it is a principle of the law that the welfare of a child is best met by maintaining the connection with birth parents to as full an extent as possible;
  3. that principle is underpinned by application of the least interventionist principle enshrined in s.1(6);
  4. adherence to those principles reflects and respects both the importance of the right to family life set out in Article 8(1) of ECHR and the limited scope for interference with that right as set out in the exceptions in Article 8(2);
  5. interference in the right to family life, which is the right both of the parent and of the child, is parametered by necessity, proportionality and legality.
  6. As a consequence, the permanent severing of ties between a child and her birth parents is an outcome only to be ordered in exceptional circumstances and where motivated by overriding requirements pertaining to the child’s welfare.
  7. To arrive at that conclusion the possibility of parental care or, in the alternative, care by members of the wider birth family must be shown to be options which are not realistic either by reason of unavailability (i.e. they do not exist) or because such care cannot meet the welfare needs of the child.
  8. That option of parental or family care should not be rejected if identified deficits could be remedied through appropriate and proportionate support provided by the Local Authority, even if such support would be necessary for an extended period of time.
  9. In order to arrive at a valid conclusion that a child’s welfare requires their permanent removal from parental/family care it is necessary to consider individually all of the competing options for care, to assess their respective strengths and weaknesses and then to look at those options against each other to ensure that every option is fully considered against every other option.
  10. Having done so and identified the outcome most able to meet the welfare needs of the child it is necessary to consider whether that outcome is itself a proportionate interference in the rights of the child.”

Download Counsels slides here.