England

Woman gets access to adoption files in Somerset

A woman has been allowed to examine the court records of her late father's adoption more than 84 years ago.

The family court held in Bristol ruled the woman could obtain a court file of the adoption order made by magistrates in Weston-super-Mare in 1930.

Judge Sir James Munby said the woman's reasons for wanting to know the identity of her grandmother were "genuine and understandable".

The judge did not identify anyone involved in the case.

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) said it "welcomed" the judgement having "campaigned for a long time to allow descendants of adopted people to obtain information about their genetic origins".

The woman's father was born in 1929, adopted in 1930 when less than three months old and had died in 2011, Sir James was told.

'Put to rest'

The judge also quoted from a letter the woman had written, when making her application, in his ruling.

"My grandmother ... is certainly dead by now, so I will not harm anyone by knowing her name. I will not be trying to contact her relatives or causing any trouble," the woman had said.

"I just want to know who my dad was, who his mother was, where he was born, and who I am.

"In a while I will be going to my father's grave to put flowers as it is his birthday and once again I will wonder who he was, did his mother ever look for him? If she did she never found him, but I can find her, and put this story to rest once and for all."

The judge assessed the danger of relatives of the man's birth mother being caused "upset" as "no more than speculative".

Julia Feast, from the BAAF said: "The government has already recognised the importance of this issue and the law has been changed with new regulations due out later this year to give descendants a right to apply for intermediary services."

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