Ps wanted to adopt their nephew from Pakistan. HO sent them a letter saying that although there was no provision in the rules for bringing a child to the UK, HO might exceptionally allow the child to be brought into the United Kingdom if the intention to adopt under the law of the United Kingdom was genuine, the child's welfare was assured, the court was likely to grant an adoption order, and one of the intending adopters was domiciled in the United Kingdom. HO refused the application because there were no compelling reasons that rendered exclusion of the child from the UK undesirable. CA held that the minister, in reaching his decision on a ground not included in the specified criteria, had acted unfairly and in disregard of the Ps’ legitimate expectations.
Watkins LJ (DISSENTING): The HO letter was not an undertaking, but merely “a helpful guide to an intending adopter”.