Chapter

* Adoption—from Contract to Status?

STEPHEN CRETNEY

in Law, Law Reform and the Family

Published in print December 1998 | ISBN: 9780198268710
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268710.003.0008
* Adoption—from Contract to Status?

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In the United Kingdom, adoption is a legal institution intended to give a child the security of belonging to a family other than the one into which he or she was born. But how far should adoption depend exclusively on the agreement of the two families concerned? Whereas in 1926 adoption was essentially a process whereby, under minimal safeguards supervised by the court, a civil contract was registered and recognised, it has now become a process, largely administered by welfare agencies, from which contractual elements have almost disappeared. While, therefore, adoption now undoubtedly creates legal status, that status seems less and less to originate in the natural parents' consent. In this changing scene, the only constant has been the involvement of a court; but the court's role has itself greatly changed over the years. This chapter explores two aspects of adoption law and touches on issues raised by the involvement of the court in the adoption process. A background on the Adoption of Children Act 1926 is given.

Keywords: adoption; children; law; parents; consent; Adoption of Children Act 1926; legal status; contract

Chapter.  12126 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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