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A Failure of Proportion: Non-Consensual Adoption in England and Wales. By SAMANTHA M. DAVEY [Oxford: Hart Publishing. 2020. x + 204 pp. Hardback £60. ISBN: 9781509929139.]

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Adoption, as it is understood in English Law, is a process whereby a child acquires new legal parents, usually in place of the previous ones. While every country in Europe has a mechanism for permitting adoption without parental consent in certain circumstances, few allow it to the extent that it occurs in England and Wales (C. Fenton-Glynn, Adoption without Consent: Update 2016 (Brussels 2016)), where it is used as a child protection measure. Samantha Davey opens her impressive book by referring to web-based accounts illustrating “many troubling stories alleging that the making of a care order and a subsequent non-consensual adoption have been disproportionate measures” (p. 1). This is a striking if somewhat populist beginning, and while conceding that adoption can sometimes be appropriate, Davey’s thesis is that “adoption orders are sometimes made in England and Wales in circumstances where less intrusive and equally effective measures are available to protect children from harm” (p. 3). In other words, some such orders are disproportionate. In Davey’s view, while proportionality is rightly considered important by appellate courts where parents seek to challenge adoption orders after they are made, it is given insufficient consideration when such orders are being made in the first place.



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Cambridge Law Journal

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Cambridge University Press

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