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23 FEB 2012

ADOPTION: Re PW (Adoption) [2011] EWHC 3793 (Fam)

(Family Division; Parker J; 12 October 2011)

The 69-year-old woman was orphaned when she was 17 and the parents of her closest friend offered her a home and applied for an adoption order. The order was granted and the woman remained with the adoptive family until she was 23 when she left home and was married. She married in her adoptive name and her children have that name on their birth certificates. After her adoptive mother died the woman challenged the adoption order which she claimed should not have been made and had a devastating effect on her life. She claimed that her wishes and feelings were not ascertained prior to the order and that she felt pressurised and influenced by her adoptive parents who very much wished to adopt her to the extent that she felt unable to gainsay their wishes. The only available remedy was permission to appeal out of time. The adoption had provided considerable benefits and support for the woman and there were strong policy reasons why adoption orders should not be set aside. The court had to assume the order was validly made on a proper and appropriate basis under the law as it was at the time. There was no prospect of success on appeal and so no basis to grant an extension of time for permission to appeal. Application refused.