How should a court determine the child’s ‘best interests’, hence whether to make a placement order for adoption in a case in which the child has been placed with the adoptive parents for some time but the possibility of a family placement then arises?  How does the proportionality analysis fit with this exercise?

In the Supreme Court’s decision in Re B (A Child) [2013] UKSC 33, Lady Hale provided the following guidance: 

“… [I]t is quite clear that the test for severing the relationship between parent and child is very strict: only in exceptional circumstances and where motivated by overriding requirements pertaining to the child’s welfare, in short, where nothing else will do.  In many cases, and particularly where the feared harm has not yet materialised and may never do so, it will be necessary to explore and attempt alternative solutions” [198].

The phrase “nothing else will do” has created considerable confusion and difficulties for the lower courts and practitioners.  Has the Court of Appeal in Re W (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 793 resolved these difficulties?  Having acted for the child, through the Children’s Guardian, in Re W, Nicholas Stonor, QC, will provide unique critical insight on these issues.


Large SCR, Oriel College

Friday, 18 November 2016, from 12.30 to 2.00pm


About the Speaker

Nicholas Stonor, QC’s practice spans all areas of family law, though he is particularly expert in care proceedings work (especially complex medical evidence cases and cases concerned with cultural or religious issues), ancillary relief, and the court of protection.  He practises out of Trinity Chambers, Newcastle, one of the leading sets of barristers’ chambers in the North of England.  He is Head of Trinity Chambers family group, and a Bar representative on the Northumbria Family Justice Council.  Called to the bar in 1993, he practised in London for several years before moving back to Newcastle, where he took silk in 2015. 


A sandwich lunch will be served.

RSVP by clicking here.                                           Any questions?  Contact lucinda.ferguson@law.ox.ac.uk