Adoption law couple leave country

A couple have left their home in Essex and moved to Ireland after being warned that their child would be taken into care as soon as it was born.

June 7, 2009 / BBC News

John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, has revealed that the couple have sought his advice after concern over English adoption law.

Mr Hemming called for reform of the law saying the legal system handed "all the aces" to social workers

He said he advises couples to move abroad before legal action is taken. 

"I don't advise people to break the law," he said.

"But I do advise them to go abroad before a court hearing and present all paperwork - because they will get a fairer hearing .

"They (foreign authorities) often know how mad the system is here."

He said the couple who moved to Ireland had lived in Essex and had sought his advice.

The woman is understood to have given birth in Wexford and the child is understood to have been taken into care pending court hearings.

Mr Hemming said: "I want to see reform. In public family law all the aces are held by the local authority and it is very, very difficult to win - and the statistics prove it."

He said Ministry of Justice figures showed that local authority attempts to pursue a care order failed in 0.27% of cases.

A spokeswoman for the unitary authority Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said: "We are committed to making plans that are in children's best interests but we do not comment on individual social care cases."

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