General principles—adoption
Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP
General principles—adoption

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

  • General principles—adoption
  • General provisions
  • The courts' approach
  • Paramountcy principle
  • Delay
  • Welfare checklist
  • The child’s background
  • Range of available powers
  • No order

The general principles about adoption are contained in section 1 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (ACA 2002). They variously apply to a court, an adoption agency, or both. A local authority responsible for children’s services is an adoption agency, and when acting in that capacity does so under that status, which is different from acting under its powers and duties under the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). The framework of ACA 2002 is intended to:

  1. simplify the adoption process

  2. enable a critical stage of decision-making (whether to authorise placement for adoption) to be undertaken at an earlier stage than before

  3. place the emphasis on the child’s welfare, and

  4. avoid delay

General provisions

ACA 2002, s 1 applies to the actions of a court or adoption agency whenever it is coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child. That phrase is defined for the purposes of the court, but not for adoption agencies. For courts, it includes certain matters, though the list is not exhaustive:

  1. coming to a decision in any proceedings where the orders the court might make include an adoption order (or its revocation), a placement order (or its revocation) or a ACA 2002, s 26 or s 51A contact order (or variation or discharge of such order)

  2. coming to a decision about granting