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Clause 11—(Registration Of Adoption Orders)

Volume 466: debated on Friday 24 June 1949

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

I beg to move, in page 6, line 21, to leave out "and any copy of an entry," and to insert:

"(6) Where the Registrar General is notified by the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Scotland that an adoption order has been made under the Adoption of Children (Scotland) Act, 1930, in respect of an infant to whom an entry in the Registers of Births or the Adopted Children Register relates, the Registrar General shall cause the entry to be marked "adopted (Scotland)," or, as the case may be, "re-adopted (Scotland)"; and where, after an entry has been marked in pursuance of this subsection, the Registrar General is notified as aforesaid that the adoption order has been quashed, or that an appeal against the adoption order has been allowed, he shall cause the marking to be erased.
(7) A copy of any entry in the Registers of Births or the Adopted Children Register."
This Amendment and the next three Amendments, in lines 22, 30 and 39, all affect the machinery of the Registrar-General. The Amendments in lines 21 and 22 go together, and there is some substance in them; the Amendments in lines 30 and 39 are purely drafting improvements.

The purpose of this Amendment and the Amendment in line 22 is to secure that if a child born or adopted in England is adopted or re-adopted in Scotland, its English birth or adoption entry is noted in the margin to show the fact of adoption in Scotland, as is at present done in the case of children adopted in England. It is a very technical point, but I think it is one with which the House will agree. Under the existing law there is no power to make that marginal note in the register. Perhaps I should add that although the note would appear on a certified copy of the original certificate, it would not appear on a short certificate.

In asking this question I apologise in advance for not knowing the answer. I am sure I ought to. I see that one of these Amendments refers to the quashing of an adoption order. Nothing in this Bill appears to relate to the quashing of orders, and I was wondering in what circumstances such a quashing would take place.

I am not sure that I can give an answer to that offhand. I suppose there is provision under the main Act. After all, this Bill follows up the Act of 1926, but I am afraid I do not carry in my head the precise provision in that Act. I should imagine, speaking offhand, that there are circumstances relating to fraud, or something of that kind. I know that there are provisions for quashing, and it is to them that this relates.

1.15 p.m.

I do not know whether this is a convenient moment to raise a point I have been wanting to raise throughout these discussions. If it is not the appropriate moment I hope that I shall be stopped at once, because I do not want to take up time unnecessarily. There is a point in the adoption of children legislation which in recent weeks and months has given considerable anxiety to a great many people, and I am wondering whether this Amendment has any bearing upon it. The point is this. There have been one or two recent cases in the courts of cruelty by adoptive parents to adopted children, and I gathered from an intervention just now that those are circumstances in which an adoption order may be quashed. In the case I have in mind the cruelty has occurred in very exceptional circumstances which aroused considerable sympathy in favour of the adoptive parents guilty of the cruelty. It is the case where a child has been adopted in all good faith from an adoption society, which no doubt has also acted in good faith, but where it has turned out that——

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but as I understand it, this Amendment deals purely and simply with entries in the register. I do not know whether or not what the hon. Gentleman is now saying has anything to do with the merits or demerits of the right of quashing by courts. On the face of it, it would not seem to be relevant here. I do not know at what point the hon. Gentleman could make his speech, but I cannot see that it is in Order on this Amendment.

That may very well be the right view, and if it is I do not want to press the point. I rather gathered from what had taken place that nobody knew whether this Amendment was purely formal or whether it covered the circumstances in which adoption orders could be quashed. If it were the latter I would contend that this is the appropriate place to raise the matter. But if it is not I do not press the point. No doubt I can raise it on Third Reading, or at some other appropriate moment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 6, line 22, leave out "in pursuance of such directions," and insert "under this section."

In page 6,In line 30, leave out from beginning, to "by," in line 33.

In page 6,In line 39, at end, insert:

"(9) In the case of an adoption order made before the commencement of this Act, the power of the court under the last foregoing subsection shall include power to amend the order—
  • (a) by the insertion of the country of the adopted person's birth;
  • (b) (where the order does not specify a precise date as the date of the adopted person's birth) by the insertion of the date which appears to the court to be the date or probable date of his birth;
  • and the provisions of that subsection shall have effect accordingly."—[Mr. Younger.]