Indian couple win £120,000 over 'race discrimination' adoption

Mr and Mrs Mander had their application rejected

Friday, December 6, 2019

A British Sikh couple have been handed nearly £120,000 in damages after a council refused their application to adopt because of their Indian ancestry.

Sandeep and Reena Mander were forced to adopt from overseas after Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council rejected their application in 2016.

The couple, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, were told there was only white British pre-school children available for adoption and their chances would be improved if they looked to the subcontinent.

With the backing of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the couple who are in their 30s, sued the local authority for discrimination.

Following a four-day hearing at Oxford County Court, Judge Melissa Clarke ruled in their favour and ordered the council to pay them general damages of £29,454.42 each and special damages totalling £60,013.43 for the cost of adopting a child overseas.

The pair have received almost £120,000 in damages

"I find that the defendants directly discriminated against Mr and Mrs Mander on the grounds of race," she said.

"I consider that there is clear evidence that Mr and Mrs Mander, who I have found expressed willingness to consider a child of any ethnicity, received less favourable treatment than would a comparable couple of a different ethnicity.

"All of this discloses, in my judgment, what the unknown social worker stated in the very first phone call with Mr Mander, namely that Adopt Berkshire operated a policy of placing adoptive children with parents who come from the 'same background', namely race."

Responding to the ruling, a spokesman for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council said: "We have reviewed our policies to ensure they are fit for purpose and are confident that we do not exclude prospective adopters on the grounds of ethnicity."

The couple's lawyer, Georgina Calvert-Lee said the landmark ruling was a "victory for all British children who need loving adoptive homes".

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