Case highlights lack of distinction in Section 28 of the ACA 2002 between formal and informal change of surname.

Case highlights lack of distinction in Section 28 of the ACA 2002 between formal and informal change of surname.

  • While prospective adopters are given parental responsibility (PR) for the adopted child, this is restricted by the local authority. Specifically, there is the prohibition on causing the child to be known by a new surname.
  • A case in 2017 saw some children, prior to adoption, wanting to be known by their adopter's surname.
  • On requesting advice from the LA, they were told that they could not officially change their names on record by the adopter's surname could be used informally.
  • The Father (F) was not officially informed of this change but was instead notified through the children's school.
  • F applied for committal of the LA for breach of section 28 of the ACA 2002 stating the prohibition on allowing the child to be known by a new surname as well as a breach of Article 8 of the ECHR and claimed damages.
  • Section 28 of the ACA 2002 however did not distinguish between formal and informal change of surname. The children should have instead been encouraged to wait until adoption orders were made, or apply to the court for leave for the children to be known by their adopter's surname.