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Supreme Court of Denmark

Adoption without consent 

Case no. 140/2018 and case no. 144/2018

Judgment delivered on 4 February 2019

The State Administration

The State Administration's decisions to release a child for adoption and then to grant adoption were valid

The case concerned whether the State Administration's decisions to release a child for adoption and subsequently to grant adoption should be annulled. The main issue in the case was whether the decisions were in line with Article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention.

The child had been forcibly removed from its biological parents after birth and placed with a foster family. Arrangements were made for contact between the child and the biological parents when the child was about six months old. These arrangements were brought to an end when the State Administration granted adoption of the child when the child was about one year and nine months old. At the time of the hearing of the case by the Supreme Court, the State Administration had not decided whether contact arrangements would be made between the child and its biological parents after the adoption.

The Supreme Court found that there was a high degree of probability that the biological parents, even with support, were permanently unable to care for the child, and that important considerations for the continuity and stability in the child's upbringing meant that adoption would be in the best interest of the child. The conditions for adoption stipulated in the Danish Adoption Act had thus been met. The Supreme Court also found that adoption without consent was in accordance with Article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention, considering the special circumstances of the case and important considerations for the interest of the child.

However, the Supreme Court stated that it would unlikely be in line with the Convention to only allow contact after the adoption in very special cases, and that the State Administration should, as soon as possible, decide whether it is best for the child to continue to have contact with its biological parents.

The High Court had reached the same conclusion.


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