News & Events

Counsel successfully resists two Permanence Orders

In an unreported judgment issued on 26 January 2016, Nicola Gilchrist, who was instructed to represent the father of two children, successfully resisted the granting of permanence orders with authority to adopt sought by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The City of Edinburgh Council applied for permanence orders in terms of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007, in respect of two children aged five and three who had not lived with either of their parents since May 2013. Both parents had a complicated immigration history and there had been concerns as to the mental health of the mother of the children. The parties had care of their third child who resided with the mother in London. It became clear that the children’s father had not been properly considered as a carer for the children despite his requests to be assessed. The children had been placed with prospective adopters in the south east of England and were faring very well.

After hearing evidence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court over 34 days, Sheriff Corke held that the statutory test set down in section 84(5) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007, that residence with either parent “is, or is likely to be, seriously detrimental to the welfare of the child, was not made out. He reasoned that the petitioner’s argument that the children’s parents were not capable of providing a level of “enhanced care” for their children was speculative and insufficient to meet the high test set down in the 2007 Act. Further he reasoned that the state is not in the business of engineering better placements for children who have parents with deficits.
Photo of Nicola Gilchrist