Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017

High Court may give custody of child to prospective adopters and authorise dispensing with consent to adoption

14. The Principal Act is amended by the substitution of the following section for section 31:

“31. (1) In this section ‘applicants’ means the person or persons referred to in subsection (2)(a).

(2) Where—

(a) a person has or persons have applied for an adoption order, and

(b) a person whose consent to the making of the adoption order is necessary under section 26, and who has agreed to the placing of the child concerned for adoption either—

(i) fails, neglects or refuses to give his or her consent to the adoption, or

(ii) having previously consented to the adoption, withdraws his or her consent,

the applicants for the adoption order may apply to the High Court for an order under subsection (3).

(3) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), the High Court may make an order—

(a) giving custody of the child to the applicants for a specified period, and

(b) authorising the Authority to dispense with the consent of any person whose consent to the making of the adoption order is necessary under section 26 to the adoption of the child by the applicants, with the adoption to be effected by an adoption order made during that specified period of custody.

(4) In considering any application under subsection (2), the High Court shall—

(a) have regard to the following:

(i) the relationship between the applicants and the child who is the subject of the application;

(ii) the relationship between the child and his or her mother or guardian, as the case may be, and the efforts made by any of those persons to develop or maintain a relationship with the child;

(iii) the proposed arrangements of the applicants and the mother or guardian or other person whose consent to the making of the adoption order is necessary under section 26, as the case may be, for the future care of the child;

(iv) the rights, whether under the Constitution or otherwise, of the persons concerned (including the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child);

(v) any other matter which the Court considers relevant to the application,


(b) in so far as is practicable, in a case where the child concerned is capable of forming his or her own views, give due weight to the views of that child, having regard to the age and maturity of the child,

and, in the resolution of any such application, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

(5) If a person whose consent is necessary under section 26 is a ward of court, his or her consent shall not be dispensed with, pursuant to an order under this section, except with the sanction of the court which granted the order for wardship.

(6) Proceedings under this section shall be heard in private.”.