Legal Update: Court Report - Special guardianship and adoption orders
Coram Children's Legal Centre
Monday, May 26, 2014
Case name N (A Child) (Adoption Order) Case number  EWFC 1491
Location High Court (Family Division)
Judge Mr Justice Moor
A recent family court decision has examined the relationship between special guardianship and adoption orders in light of the approach taken by the Court of Appeal in Re B-S. The child to which the proceedings relate had spent the first seven months of her life in hospital due to a number of continuing disabilities. After this, she moved in with the applicants where she has lived for five years. The local authority and the guardian supported their application for an adoption order. The father (supported by the paternal grandmother) argued that a special guardianship order was the most appropriate order to make and also applied for a contact order.
Mr Justice Moor contemplated the advantages and disadvantages of both orders particularly in the light of Re B-S, where the Court of Appeal had emphasised the importance of a "holistic and rigorous evaluation" of all options in adoption cases. In doing this, Moor J held that nothing but an adoption order would provide the child with the permanence she required. A special guardianship order on the other hand would have the potential for variance or revocation and only last until the child's 18th birthday.
Moor J also considered the application for a contact order but found that it would not be in the child's interests to make such an order, as the child required finality and any application to vary such an order would not be conducive to the child's welfare.