A children’s guardian appointed in care proceedings
opposed a local authority care plan to place a child for adoption
with a Jewish couple, and sought judicial review of the decision to
accept the recommendation of the adoption panel. She argued that
the child, who was born to secular parents with a Jewish, Muslim
and Catholic background, should go to a secular home, suggesting
that the chosen home was ‘too Jewish’.
The child was Jewish under rabbinical law, by descent through
the mother, but was probably also regarded as entirely Muslim under
that faith’s law of patrilineal descent. Approving the plan for
adoption by the chosen couple, Mr. Justice Wilson regarded the
guardian’s objections as ‘inflexible and
doctrinaire’. He noted that they had links with the Turkish
Muslim and Roman Catholic heritage, and would be likely to make
devoted, wise, reliable and sensitive parents for the child, well
aware of her complex ethnic and religious identity and committed to
promoting it, rather than attempting to submerge it within their
Comment: The guardian’s application was misconceived on
several counts. It is not possible to make precise matches; to try
to rule out adopters on the grounds that a child should have a more
secular upbringing, suggests a negative attitude towards religion.
Secondly there would have to be an overwhelming case for the
guardian to have good reason to second guess an adoption panel.
Thirdly even if the guardian was correct, the opposition to the
care plan could have been raised in the care proceedings without
resort to judicial review.
White and Sherwin Solicitors