A Berkshire couple have been awarded nearly £120,000 in damages after a judge ruled they were discriminated against by not being allowed to adopt a child.
The Manders, who are British and of Sikh Indian ancestry, were told in 2016 that although they would be suitable adoptive parents, they could not make an application because white couples would be given priority as only white children were available. They were then advised to consider adopting from India.
The Manders sued the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for discrimination and their case was backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Her Honour Judge Melissa Clarke ruled in favour of their claim that they should not have been barred from applying to join the approved adopters register because of where their parents were born and declared the council's action as "direct discrimination on the grounds of race".
In her judgment, Clarke said: “I consider that there is clear evidence that Mr and Mrs Mander, who I have found expressed willingness to consider a child of any ethnicity, received less favourable treatment than would a comparable couple of a different ethnicity. All of this discloses, in my judgment, what the unknown social worker stated in the very first phone call with Mr Mander, namely that Adopt Berkshire operated a policy of placing adoptive children with parents who come from the ‘same background’ – namely race.
Lawyers for the couple said the judgment was a landmark ruling with the finding of racial discrimination in adoption law.