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Court grants 14 year old’s application for revocation of adoption order

Circumstances ‘highly exceptional and very particular’

Mrs Justice Pauffley has granted the application of a 14 year old young woman, PK, for the revocation of an adoption order granted ten years before. Pauffley J also ordered that PK could change her surname to that of her biological mother.

In PK v Mr and Mrs K [2015] EWHC 2316 (Fam) the court heard that two years following her adoption, PK was sent to Ghana to live with members of her adoptive parents' extended family. She was abused during her time there. She returned to the UK in July 2014 and was reunited with her mother and maternal grandmother.

Mrs Justice Pauffley sets out the legal framework relating to the revocation of adoption orders. Whilst accepting that public policy considerations ordinarily militate against revoking properly made adoption orders, Pauffley J found that the facts of this case fell within the "highly exceptional and very particular" category. There were powerful reasons in favour of revocation and the only contra-indication was the public policy issue. The factors militating for a revocation of the order included the troubled and disrupted childhood that PK had experienced; her return to her mother; her competence and motivation to pursue the application and achieve her ambitions. Further, PK was found to have extremely strong feelings about her legal status.

Pauffley J considered that it was very important to PK that the court take account of her wishes and firm views which are that she should no longer be the adopted child of Mr and Mrs K but instead revert to having legal status as a member of her biological family. The only advantage of refusing the application would be the public policy of upholding a validly made order.

The right course was to allow both applications in these highly exceptional and very particular circumstances of this case.

The judgment and summary by Katy Chokowry of 1 King's Bench Walk, from which this item is derived, are here.