Child being placed for adoption: whether father should be told.

Author:Harris, Alexandra Conroy
Position:Legal notes: England and Wales

M v F [2011] Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Thorpe, Longmore & Black LLJ 17 March 2011 [2011] EWCA Civ 273

M and F were a married couple who were refugees from Afghanistan. F suffered from depression and posttraumatic stress disorder as a result of his experiences in Afghanistan and his mental health problems had caused him to act in unpredictable and violent ways. M and F had three adult children and in May 2010 M discovered that she was again pregnant. M had not realised that she was pregnant until it was too late to consider termination and decided to have the baby without telling F. She placed him in foster care as soon as he was born and asked the local authority to find adopters. M sought declarations from the court that F should not be told about the baby's birth and that the court should dispense with F's consent to the child's adoption.

At first instance, Mostyn J found that F had a full family life, married to and living with M. M said that he was the father of the child and the law presumed that the child, having been born to a married couple, was the legitimate child of both M and F. He suggested that nothing less...

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