Six couples have lost their legal fight to overturn a government
ban on adopting children from Cambodia, writes Helen
The temporary but indefinite suspension was made last summer by
Margaret Hodge, then children’s minister, in a bid to combat
child trafficking from the south east Asian state.
The government made the move amid concerns that there were not
sufficient safeguards in place to ensure birth parents’
consent was being obtained in the country.
Lawyers for the couples, who were in the advanced stages of the
adoption process when the suspension was placed, argued that Hodge
did not have the powers to block the adoptions.
The couples’ counsel, Helen Mountfield, said the
government could have issued measures to allow for each case to be
But rejecting the legal challenge at the Appeal Court, Mr
Justice Munby said abuses of the adoption system in Cambodia
“amply” justified Hodge’s decision and that there
were not enough resources to allow for individual assessments.
He added that in his view the move was “both appropriate
and proportionate” and ruled that the challenge “failed
on every ground.”