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Slovakian grandmother wins right to challenge High Court adoption ruling keeping grandsons in the UK



A Slovakian woman who wants her two grandsons to leave the UK and live with her in Eastern Europe has won the latest round of a legal fight.

The Court of Appeal gave the woman - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - the go-ahead to challenge a ruling saying the boys should be adopted and stay in the UK.

Appeal judge Lord Justice McFarlane said Slovakian government officials had 'expressed concern' about the approach a lower UK court had taken to the case.

Lord Justice McFarlane was told that the boys - aged four and three - were born in England to Slovakian parents.

Social workers had intervened after one suffered a 'non-accidental' injury thought to have been caused by his father.

Both parents had accepted that the children could not live with them, said Lord Justice McFarlane.

Earlier this year a family court judge decided that the boys should be placed for adoption in England, not returned to Slovakia to live with their mother’s mother.

Lord Justice McFarlane gave the grandmother permission to challenge the family court judge’s ruling, during an appeal court hearing in London.

He said there was an 'arguable case' that the family court judge had 'fallen into error'.

The grandmother is expected to outline her arguments in detail at a full appeal hearing in London later this year.

Lord Justice McFarlane said the Slovakian government had raised concerns.

'They (the Slovakian government) expressed concern about the approach of the UK court in this case,' he said.

'They questioned whether the decision affords proper respect to the grandmother.'

A few weeks ago an MP who campaigns for family law reform raised concerns about the 'forcible adoption' of Slovakian children living in England and Wales.

Liberal Democrat John Hemming, who represents Birmingham Yardley, said Slovakian government officials were troubled by decisions made by judges hearing family court cases involving Slovak parents.

Mr Hemming raised the issue in a parliamentary motion and said Slovakian officials had worries that there were cases where children had been adopted 'without sound reasons'.

Mr Hemming said the Slovakian representative at the European Court of Human Rights had 'expressed a willingness to intervene in support of complaints made by Slovakian citizens about wrongful adoptions'.

He thought that officials had concerns about 'possibly 30 children' and said he would raise the issue with UK Government ministers.

2012 Sep 19