About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Adapting adoption procedures

I am grateful to Stuart Fuller, my colleague in Chambers, for the following:

The President has at long last issued guidance as to how to deal with the dogs' breakfast served up by Rule 31 FP(A)Rules 2005 (which requires all parties to be given notice of the "final hearing" in adoption proceedings). The problem was of course as follows.

In the good old days one could have a "dispensing hearing" to deal with parental consent and then, preferably after the appeal period had expired, a "final hearing" at which applicants and child would attend, order would be made and late and much lamented Bracewell J would give the child a teddy bear dressed in judicial garb. Notice of that hearing would not be given to the birth parents. Under the new Rules, however, that second hearing has become the "final hearing" and the birth parents have to be notified.

Different courts have come up with different ways of resolving the situation. We now have the official solution as set out in the attached President's Guidance - we will henceforth have a dispensing hearing, then presumably a final hearing at which the order will be made (or maybe that can now be done at the conclusion of the dispensing hearing, with the child's attendance being dispensed with?) and then, yippee, a "celebratory event." Is this the first time the President has given guidance about a celebratory event?

Trouble is, it's unlikely we'll now get to take the photos any more.
Does the President realise he's depriving the family bar of one of its few opportunities to witness a happy event in court?

Ah well, back to the coalface.

The text of the Practice Directions is available on the main FLW site

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