In re JL and AO (Babies Relinquished for Adoption) – WLR Daily

In re JL and AO (Babies Relinquished for Adoption): [2016] EWHC 440 (Fam)

‘In two cases babies, JL and AO, were born in England to mothers from Eastern Europe but relinquished at birth for adoption. In the case of JL the child, whose Estonian mother worked in England and whose putative father lived in Estonia, was accommodated by the local authority with the mother’s consent pursuant to an agreement under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 and was placed with foster carers. The mother gave her written consent to his adoption and the putative father, maternal family and the Estonian authorities all supported his adoption in this country. The local authority sought a placement order under section 21 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. In the case of AO, the Hungarian parents working in England wished the child to be adopted in this country. AO had been removed at birth and placed with foster carers and had been made a ward of court. The local authority, children’s guardian and Hungarian authorities sought the child’s return to Hungary so that she could be placed for adoption there. Common issues arose as to what jurisdiction the court had to make orders facilitating such placements, (ii) the factors which had to be taken into account when making decisions about relinquished babies, the possible outcomes and the procedures to be followed and (iii) where a child born to nationals of a foreign country had been placed voluntarily in the care of a local authority, with a view to adoption or otherwise, whether the authority was under an obligation under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 to inform the consular officials of that country about the placement. In the case of JL, the further issues arose whether the court had jurisdiction to make a placement order and what order, if any, should be made. In the case of AO, the further issues arose whether it was open to the court either to transfer jurisdiction to Hungary under Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (“Brussels IIA”) or to make an order permitting the local authority to send AO to Hungary; and what order, if any, the court should make.’

WLR Daily, 3rd March 2016