Recent Court of Appeal Judgment: M-H (A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 1396

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The recent Court of Appeal judgment of M-H (A Child) [2014] EWCA Civ 1396 is an important judgment dealing with a mother’s appeal against a placement order in relation to her daughter.


The issues for the Court of Appeal were two-fold, namely whether the judge at first instance:

i. applied the ‘correct test’ in dispensing with the parents’ consent and making a placement order; and if she did so,

ii. was the expert evidence in the case adequately analysed in conducting a proper balancing exercise in her contemplation of long term fostering as opposed to adoption and sufficiently articulated the same in her judgment.


The court provided an appraisal of the ‘correct test’ to be used in any case in which a court is asked to dispense with a parent’s consent to their child being placed for adoption; namely that statutorily provided for by sections 52 (1) (b) and 1 (4) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 interpreted in the light of the admonitions of the President of the Family Division in Re B-S (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146 which drew upon the judgments of the Supreme Court in In Re B (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Threshold Criteria) [2013] UKSC 33.


The Court of Appeal dismissed the mother’s appeal. Lady Justice Macur DBE in delivering the Court’s lead judgment, stated that “due regard was had to all the evidence and the correct legal principles applied [by the judge at first instance]. The order cannot be said to be wrong.”