English Adoption Law: Past, Present, and Future

N. V. Lowe

in Cross Currents

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198268208
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683442 | DOI:
English Adoption Law: Past, Present, and Future

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This chapter discusses the establishment of adoption as a recognised legal order in England, traces the development and changing use of such orders during the twentieth century, and examines the role, if any, of adoption in the new century. Attempts to introduce adoption legislation were made in both 1889 and 1890. This chapter also discusses developments leading to the Adoption of Children Act 1926. Permanence and irrevocability have always distinguished adoption from all other orders relating to children and not just guardianship. Even so, given that succession rights were unaffected by adoption, one could say that all adoption did was sever the legal relationship between child and birth parent prior to death and in that sense adoption only suspended the parent-child relationship. But once succession rights were altered by adoption, as they were under the Adoption of Children Act 1949, then any argument that adoption was analogous to guardianship ceased. The changing rules regarding succession were but one of many substantive changes made both to the nature of adoption itself as well as to its organisation.

Keywords: adoption; England; legal order; legislation; Adoption of Children Act; permanence; irrevocability; succession rights; guardianship

Chapter.  15676 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Family Law

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