A pregnant Italian woman had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by British social workers.
Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken. The council said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, who was in Britain on a work trip, because she had suffered a mental health breakdown.
The baby girl - now 15 months old - is still in the care of social services, who are refusing to give her back to the mother, even though she claims to have made a full recovery.
Lawyers for the woman describe the case as "unprecedented".
They claim that even if the council had been acting in the woman's best interests, officials should have consulted her family beforehand and also involved Italian social services, who would be better-placed to look after the child.
Brendan Fleming, the woman's British lawyer, told the Sunday Telegraph: "I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job.
I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented."
"If there were concerns about the care of this child by an Italian mother, then the better plan would have been for the authorities here to have notified social services in Italy and for the child to have been taken back there."
The woman came to Britain in July last year to attend a training course with an airline at Stansted Airport in Essex.
She suffered a panic attack, which her relations believe was due to her failure to take regular medication for an existing bipolar condition. She called police, who became concerned for her well-being and took her to a hospital, which she then realised was a psychiatric facility.
She has told her lawyers that when she said she wanted to return to her hotel, she was restrained and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Meanwhile, Essex social services obtained a High Court order in August 2012 for the birth "to be enforced by way of caesarean section", according to legal documents.
The woman, who says she was kept in the dark about the proceedings, says that after five weeks in the ward she was forcibly sedated. When she woke up she was told that the child had been delivered by C-section and taken into care.
In February, she returned to Britain to request the return of her daughter at a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.
But the judge ruled that the child should be placed for adoption because of the risk that she might suffer a relapse.