Post Adoption Contact considered in Court of Appeal

14th March 2019

RE B (A Child) (Post-Adoption Contact) [2019] EWCA Civ 29

The issue of post-adoption contact was recently considered by the Court of Appeal in the case of Re B (A Child) (Post-Adoption Contact) [2019] EWCA Civ 29. The appellants were the natural parents represented by Vanessa Meachin QC and Sarah Jennings instructed by Phil Storey and Karen Bailey of Bailey Wright & Co Solicitors.

In this matter the birth parents sought on-going direct contact with their daughter post adoption. Re B was the first case to come before the Court of Appeal following the implementation of Section 51A of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 which specifically make provision for post-adoption contact orders. It was felt, on behalf of the appellants, that the issue of post-adoption contact needed to be reconsidered in light of the developing research in this area coupled with the recent changes in the legislative framework.

In giving the leading judgment, Lord Justice McFarlane (President of the Family Division) recognised that the new legislation has not changed the position as set out in caselaw, namely that it would be “extremely unusual” for a Court to order ongoing direct contact where the adoptive family are not in agreement. However, this case recognises the research and debate around the issue of post-adoption contact amongst professionals and confirms that this should be considered at the welfare stage on a case-by-case basis. This case reminds us of the importance of raising the issue of post-adoption contact at every stage of care, placement and adoption proceedings.

Read the judgment here