Law Report: Adoption Was Not for Foreign Child's Welfare
Ying Hui Tan, Barrister, The Independent (London, England)
When an application is made by a British citizen to adopt a foreign child the judge should not take into account any benefits accruing to the child from the acquisition of British nationality, such as the guidance and affection of relatives living in Britain.
The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the Secretary of State for the Home Department and discharged an adoption order made by Mr Justice Connell.
K was born in Sierra Leone in 1975. K's mother asked her sister, the applicant, who is a British citizen to look after K if she should die. After K's mother's death in 1988 the applicant adopted K in Sierra Leone in 1991. K was granted temporary admission to the United Kingdom in 1991 and has lived with the applicant since.
The applicant, with the support of the Official Solicitor as K's guardian ad litem, applied to adopt K. The application was heard when K was only eight days short of her eighteenth birthday, when she would no longer be eligible for adoption. Mr Justice Connell made the adoption order which conferred on K British nationality.
Neil Garnham (Treasury Solicitor) for the Home Secretary; Lincoln Crawford (McHale & Co) for the applicant and K; Jeremy Posnansky QC (Official Solicitor) as amicus curiae.
LORD JUSTICE BALCOMBE said that Parliament had not intended, by the general words in section 1(6) of the British Nationality Act 1981, to deny the Home Secretary any effective right of appeal against an adoption order made in proceedings to which he was a party.
If the Home Secretary succeeded, that would affect K's status as a British citizen, although the Home Secretary was prepared to grant her indefinite leave to remain here. …