Adoption orders
Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP
Adoption orders

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Adoption orders
  • General
  • Adoption agency and panel procedure
  • Who can be adopted
  • Who can adopt
  • Period of living with applicant
  • Non-agency cases—notice to the local authority
  • Visits to placement
  • Court reports and criminal record certificates
  • Conditions to be satisfied
  • more


Adoption applications generally arise in three situations:

  1. when children are the subject of placement orders, usually in the context of care proceedings, see Practice Notes: Adoption—placement orders and Public children—Public Law Outline 2014

  2. when children are being placed for adoption with parental consent, where there will often not be any prior court proceedings

  3. regarding private applications for adoption, for children living with the applicants, where the child was not placed with them by an adoption agency—the local authority may not know the child or applicants, but in some cases it may know of them and have been involved in the life of that child and/or family—see also Practice Note: Adoption by step-parents

The first two categories are adoption agency placements, the third category comprises non-agency placements. Different statutory provisions apply to some extent, but reports are required in all cases.

Section 15 of the Education and Adoption Act 2016 makes provision for regional adoption agencies, but this section is not yet in force. In June 2015, the Department for Education issued a paper setting out its proposals in this regard. In response, most English local authorities have responded by setting up regional arrangements. See also News Analysis: How will the Education and Adoption Bill affect the adoption process?

Adoption agency and panel procedure

Adoption agency and (where necessary) panel