(Family Division; Bennett J; 23 October 2009)
When the British man adopted his Armenian partner's child in Armenia, the Armenian birth certificate was amended to name the man as the child's father, but continued to name the mother, confirming that the mother retained parental responsibility following the adoption. Some years later, when the family had relocated to England, the man sought a declaration from the English court recognising the foreign adoption.
The wording of Adoption and Children Act 2002, s 67(3), if read absolutely literally, appeared to deprive the mother of parental responsibility for the child once a declaration recognising a foreign adoption had been made. Such an interpretation of s 67(3) was contrary to the jurisprudence; would, given that an English court would have been able to make an adoption order that would not have had the effect of depriving the mother of parental responsibility, produce an absurd and thoroughly unjust result; would not be in the child's best interests; and would be contrary to the mother's Art 8 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Section 67(3) must be read so as to uphold the Art 8 rights of the family and particularly the child.