Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ANS (Respondent) and another v. ML (AP) (Appellant) (Scotland): Appeal dismissed

Lord Reed hands down the judgment
The Supreme Court judgment in the Scottish case ANS (Respondent) and another v. ML (AP) (Appellant) has been handed down today.

The Issue
Whether section 31(3)(d) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 is incompatible with the rights of the Respondent and her child to respect for family life in terms of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘the Convention’), and is consequently unlawful in terms of section 29(2)(d) of the Scotland Act 1998.

The Facts
Section 31(3)(d) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 enables the court in adoption proceedings to dispense with the parent’s consent to adoption where the welfare of the child requires the consent to be dispensed with. The Respondent applied to the sheriff to adopt the Appellant’s child. The Appellant argued during the course of those proceedings that the possibility of dispensing with parental consent to adoption on the grounds of ‘welfare’ violates Article 8 of the Convention. The sheriff referred this question to the Inner House, which held that the provision in question was compatible with the Convention. The Appellant appeals against this decision. She seeks a declaration that the provision violates Article 8 and is therefore unlawful in terms of section 29(2)(d) of the Scotland Act 1998.

The Decision
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, finding that if the provision is applied as the Court considers it should be, then decisions made under it are compatible with Article 8 of the Convention.

The full judgment can be read here, and a press summary here.

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