President’s Guidance: Arrangements for adoption visits

|Guidance|Family
  1. Paragraphs 25-29 of President’s Guidance 10 April 2018; Listing Final Hearings in Adoption Cases set out Guidance in relation to the arrangements for adoption visits. Paragraph 28 provides that:
    “It is expected that any adoption visit(s) shall take place outside normal court sitting hours. They shall not be listed or referred to in the daily court list.”
  2. The reason for this ought to be obvious – to ensure that parents and others involved in care and placement order proceedings are not brought into contact with those involved in adoption visits.
  3. It was therefore with considerable concern that I read the following tweet on 13 July 2018:
    “Placement Orders made today. Trying to console client and talk about her options. Court waiting room full of children and their adoptive parents coming for their celebration hearings. It’s insensitive to have these occurring side by side.”
    Who could possibly disagree?
  4. This tweet generated a significant number of other tweets, revealing that this was far from being an isolated incident.
  5. It is vital that judges and HMCTS staff do everything possible to separate adoption visits from other proceedings, both in terms of the timing and, wherever possible, by arranging for them to be dealt with in separate parts of the building. This will often require careful planning, but it must be done. We owe the families nothing less.

James Munby
President of the Family Division
24 July 2018