Several important family law judgments have been published, including a case which overturned established precedent on discharging care orders, and proceedings which resulted in a step-parent adoption being upheld – despite significant failures by the judge to apply the correct laws to the issues.

In a judgment handed down in TT (Children) [2021], last week, the judge held that the discharge of care orders must be made according to the Children Act 1989’s welfare principle (that the child’s welfare must be the court’s paramount consideration), and not the tests that had been applied in a previous case. There is a very good summary of the case on Community Care, which also explains how evidence about attachment theory should be considered.

A judgment published in April, offered guidance on the use of special guardianship orders and care orders together. The children to whom the SGO applies are twin sisters. Their special guardian is their former step-father, K. The appellant was the girls’ mother. The judgment can be accessed on Bailii.

And a judge who failed entirely to apply the relevant case law and provisions within s 46(6) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, had his decision upheld by the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), because he had, unwittingly, come to what the Court of Appeal believed was the correct conclusion. The case featured a forced adoption, applied for by a step-parent. There is a very helpful summary of this case on LexisNexis, and for those who do not have access to the resource, the judgment can be found on the Judiciary UK website.