The President of the Family Division has handed down Judgment in Re W (A Child) (No 4) [2017] EWHC 1760 (Fam) (10 July 2017).

This is the fourth Judgment of the President in this extraordinary case which has already been heard twice by the Court of Appeal. The Court dismissed applications by the father to set aside an adoption/prevent the removal of a child from the jurisdiction and an application for post-adoption contact after an evening hearing of the High Court on 6th July 2017.

The Judgment set out the case law which recognises the very high bar against any successful challenge to an adoption order. The President found that there had not been fraud/material non-disclosure – in particular, in the period between the substantive hearing and Judgment.

Martin Downs represented the Adoption Agency with Andrew Bagchi QC of 1 Garden Court and was instructed by Brighton and Hove City Council.

The original case is reported as: Re W (A Child), Re [2017] EWHC 829 (Fam). In that Judgment, the President said:

“This is a very complex and worrying case. It is, I think, by some margin the most difficult and concerning case of its type I have ever been involved in”.

The proceedings commenced in 2013 before a District Judge, were appealed to a Circuit Judge and then by way of a second appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2015 – reported as Re H (Children) (Application to Extend Time: Merits of Proposed Appeal) [2015] EWCA Civ 583, [2015] 1 WLR 5085, [2016] 1 FLR 952.

The re-hearing was listed before Russell J and was reported as Re W (Adoption Application: Reunification with Family of Origin) [2015] EWHC 2039 (Fam), [2016] 2 FLR 768.

Martin Downs and Andrew Bagchi QC were then instructed in the successful Appeal against that decision reported as Re H (A Child) (Appeal) [2015] EWCA Civ 1284, [2016] 2 FLR 1173.