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Court of Appeal finds remote adoption hearing is inappropriate

The Court of Appeal last week vacated the final hearing of an adoption application that was due to be heard over eight days commencing this week remotely, it has been reported.

Barristers chambers St Johns Buildings said it was believed to be the first case of its kind considered by the Court of Appeal. 

Karl Rowley QC led Simon Heaney from the set appeared for the father who brought the appeal.

Mr Heaney had appeared at a case management hearing following the removal of a final adoption hearing from the list after the Covid-19 outbreak. The judge then relisted it as a remote hearing starting on 27 April.

St Johns Buildings said the father opposed the final adoption hearing being listed remotely, “as he believed this most serious of orders should be handled in a court room”.

Lord Justice Jackson granted leave and the appeal was heard remotely on 23 April.

The appeal was heard by the President of the Family Division alongside Jackson and Davies LJJ who found in favour of the father. A full judgment will follow, St Johns Buildings said.

The President of the Family Division earlier this month also ruled that a planned 15-day hearing into allegations made by a local authority that a young child had been caused significant harm as a result of fabricated or reduced illness (FII) should not take place remotely.

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