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(Court of Appeal, Sir James Munby P, Arden, Aikens LJJ, 25 April 2013)
The child, now 5 years old, was removed from his mother's care just days after birth and placed in foster care. Final care and placement orders were made and he was placed with prospective adopters where he had since remained and the adopters applied for an adoption order.
When the appellant became aware of the adoption proceedings he applied for a DNA paternity test to find out if he was the child's father. When he was confirmed as the father he applied under Part 19 of the FPR 2010 to defend/oppose the adoption order. The mother's position was that she wished for the child to be placed with his natural father or with the paternal aunt as opposed to strangers.
The father's application was dismissed and the judge held that in all the circumstances the child required that the stability that had been obtained for him should not be threatened and that it was in his best interests to be adopted. The father sought permission to appeal but there was a delay in obtaining a transcript of the judgment and in the meantime an adoption order was granted.
The father's appeal was dismissed on the grounds that he had no relationship with the child who had been settled for over 2 years with the adopters. The court could not take the risk of disturbing that placement. The judgment was clear and demonstrated no error of law or approach.