General principles—adoption

The following Family practice note 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

General principles—adoption

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

Note that FPR 2010, PD 36P has been issued to put in place a pilot scheme from 9 March 2020 to the end of the day on 1 September 2022 (as extended) for applications in placement proceedings under ACA 2002, and all required accompanying documents, to be filed with the court via an online system. The pilot scheme also provides for applications, judgments and orders in such proceedings to be served by the court via the online system. FPR 2010, PD 36ZB (Pilot scheme: procedure for using an online system to complete and file certain applications for an adoption order) underpins a HMCTS pilot scheme to allow certain applications, and stages in

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