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Myth-buster guide as to effect of Re B-S published

Misunderstanding of judgment has caused significant fall in adoptions

The National Adoption Leadership Board has published a "mythbuster" guide about recent court judgments on adoption, in particularly the Re B-S judgment. The guide sets out what the judgments do and do not say. It is designed to help everyone who deals with these complex issues be clear and confident about what they need to do in adoption cases. The guide also clarifies some myths that the NALB says it knows have sprung up about what courts will need to consider in adoption cases.

Between 1 September 2013 and 30 June 2014: 

The NALB, Family Justice Board, and the Department for Education have heard regularly that these changes are a response to a number of high profile court judgments on care and adoption order cases, notably Re B [2013] UKSC 33 and Re B-S (Children) [2014] EWCA Civ 1146. Some of the feedback suggests to those bodies a degree of misinterpretation of these judgments. This appears to have resulted in inaccurate assumptions being made about the judgments which, in reality, do not alter the legal basis for the making of care and placement orders.

Sir Martin Narey, Chair of the National Adoption Leadership Board, said:

"After two years of significant progress in finding more adoptive homes for the thousands of children waiting – transforming their lives along the way - we have seen a sudden and significant fall off in the number of children being put forward for adoption.

"It is clear from my discussions with social workers and managers in local authorities and in voluntary adoption agencies, that there is a belief that the law has been fundamentally changed by a number of court judgements. So I am pleased to produce this simple myth busting guide – drafted by a Senior
Queen's Counsel - to what those judgments do and do not say.

"I am extremely grateful to Sir James Munby. President of the Family Division, for his advice. He has seen the document and is supportive of its aim of dispelling the myths that have arisen."

The guide discounts the following five myths:

The guide then asserts the following truths:

The guide is here.