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Rachel Pullen

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

I wish to present to the House a petition that raises an interesting case.

The petition states:

The Petition of The Pullen Family

Declares that a recent case in the Family Court has highlighted an injustice in the current system. The daughter of Rachel Pullen has been put up for adoption because she is alleged, by Nottingham City Council, to be too ill for her mother to care for her. The Council assessed Rachel Pullen as “not having the capacity to give instructions to your solicitor”. As a consequence the Official Solicitor was instructed to represent her. This case demonstrates that there is a conflict of interest under current legislation which works against the interests of parents. The petitioners believe that judgements on an individual's competence should be made by a fully independent authority to ensure justice is both done and seen to be done.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to legislate to prevent courts from accepting the opinion of experts paid by the local authority as to the capacity of parties to give instructions to solicitors and further to investigate on how many occasions the Official Solicitor has been used by Local Authorities to progress the removal and adoption of a child from its birth family.

And the Petitioner remains, etc.

To lie upon the Table.