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(Court of Appeal; Thorpe and Munby LJJ and Coleridge J; 24 November 2010)
The mother had not been given notice of the adoption hearing. The mother applied to have the adoption order set aside noting that she had been drug free for two years. The child was now almost six years old and had had no contact with the mother since he was two and a half and had been placed with adopters when he was just four.
Held that where an adoption order had been made without proper notice to the mother, it was procedurally flawed and must be set aside. However, it did not follow that the mother should be given permission to oppose the adoption order. On the facts of this case the judge should have remade the adoption order himself. The applicant had to persuade the court not only that there had been a change of circumstances justifying giving her leave to oppose the adoption but also that to give her leave was in the child's best interests.
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