Revoking an adoption order – the barrier to do so is set very high

In the recently reported case of HX v A Local Authority (Application to Revoke Adoption Order) the birth father’s application to revoke an adoption order made in November 2019 was set aside.

The application to revoke the order was made on the basis that he had not been made aware of the proceedings and was supported by the birth mother (who herself had opposed the adoption order).

The Court said the only statutory ground for revocation of an adoption order under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 was not applicable here. It also observed that the courts have been very strict in their refusal to allow adoption orders to be challenged otherwise than by way of appeal (for example, in the case of procedural irregularity).

In this case, the application to revoke the adoption order was rejected for these key reasons:

  • the adoption order made is intended to be legally permanent
  • there is a public interest in not permitting revocation
  • the birth father has a very high hurdle to jump in trying to persuade the court to revoke the order.

The court did however find failures in relation to finding and involving him, but that did not represent the type of fundamental breach of natural justice sufficient to justify revoking the adoption order. 


If you have a query on any element of adoption or family law why not contact one of Alexander JLO’s specialists in the field for a free, no obligation consultation and see what we can do for you?

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