The President of the Family Division of the English High Court has given his second judgment in two important cases concerning Scottish Children placed for adoption in England.
In both cases the Scottish local authorities were represented by Arnot Manderson advocate, Alan Inglis, whose input was described by the President as “invaluable”.
In A & Ors (Children : Scottish adoptions)  EWHC 35 (Fam) his Lordship accepted submissions that a Permanence Order with Authority to Adopt was recognised in English law to dispense with parental consent to adoption. Birth parents could only become parties to adoption applications if they had an effective contact order made in Scotland. Their role would be limited to seeking continuing contact and not to opposing the adoption. However, as adoption agencies who placed the children for adoption, the Scottish local authorities would be parties to the adoption application.
In A and O (Children : Scotland), Re  EWHC 1293 (Fam) the children were placed with English prospective adopters under a Compulsory Supervision Order made by the Children’s Hearing. There was no POA. The birth parents argued that the placement was illegal because the local authority was required by the Adoption Agency (Scotland) Regulations to apply for a POA within 28 days of determining that adoption was in the children’s best interests. The judge accepted Mr Inglis’ submission that this does not invalidate the placement for adoption because as a matter of fact the local authority is an adoption agency, had placed the children, and it was for the purposes of adoption as required by section 42 (2) (a) of the (English) Adoption and Children Act 2002.
The President also rejected the birth parents assertion that the proceedings should be in Scotland, agreeing with Mr Inglis that the stay (sist) of the English application to enable an application to be raised in Scotland would be a breach of the parties’ rights under Article 6 ECHR to a fair trial within a reasonable time.
Alan Inglis is the only Counsel practicing family and incapacity law in both Scotland and in England and Wales. He is frequently instructed by Scottish local authorities to appear in English Courts on such matters and maintains a practicing certificate there.