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Kent County Council (21 001 608)

Category : Children's care services > Adoption

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 02 Aug 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about his son being wrongfully adopted because it lies outside our jurisdiction. The law prevents us from investigating complaints about matters that have been considered and decided in court.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr X, complains his son was wrongfully adopted after the Council lied about him, saying he was a risk to his child.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint about the start of court action or what happened in court. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5/5A, paragraph 1/3, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X complains the Council lied about him, removed his son from his care at birth and, following court proceedings, his son was later adopted. Mr X says the Council wrongly stated he was dangerous and a risk to his child.
  2. The Council has considered several complaints from Mr X about this matter since 2018. It explained the only way to appeal the adoption would be via the courts as the decision to place his son for adoption was made in court proceedings. Any challenge to the information provided to the court should have been raised during those proceedings, where Mr X was legally represented. It cannot change the outcome or overturn the court’s decision.

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Final decision

  1. We cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint because it lies outside our jurisdiction. The law prevents us from investigating matters such as this that have been considered in court. We have no discretion to do so.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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