Martin Downs acted in Re H (A Child) (No. 2) [2015] EWCA Civ 1284 where the Court of Appeal have overturned the Judgment of Ms Justice Russell in Re W (Adoption application: Reunification with Family of Origin) [2015] EWHC 2039. This is the second time that the Court of Appeal has considered this case.

In Re H (Children) (No 1) [2015] EWCA 583, the Court of Appeal had set aside Care and Placement Orders having conducted a review of the law on relief of sanctions (the original appeal was significantly out of time).

The matter was then remitted to Ms Justice Russell to hear the contested adoption hearing. In turn, this Judgment has now been overturned. McFarlane LJ giving the Judgment of the Court, concluded that Ms Justice Russell insufficiently appreciated the implication of the first Court of Appeal Judgment, had not weighed in the balance evidence which would suggest that a return to the birth family would be problematic and had misconstrued the law (as to whether there is a presumption of family care at the welfare stage of a contested adoption).

Martin Downs appeared for B&HCC which supported the appeal. He was led by Andrew Bagchi QC of 1 Garden Court.

The Respondents are seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Martin Downs had earlier appeared in the case of Re T (Early Permanence Placement) [2015] EWCA Civ 983 where the President gave guidance on the role of prospective adopters under the Early Permanence Scheme within care proceedings. In that case he was led by Deirdre Fottrell QC of 1 Garden Court.