HC Deb 25 July 1958 vol 592 cc863-4

Amendment proposed: In page 12, line 12, at end insert: as evidenced, in such cases as may be prescribed, by the certificate of a fully registered medical practitioner".—[Miss Hornsby-Smith.]

Mr. W. Wells

We are glad that the hon. Lady has seen fit to introduce the Amendment, but as those who have studied the Notice Paper will see, we have chosen to go very much further. We propose to make it obligatory on a court before making an adoption order to satisfy itself, either by oral evidence or by a certificate from a registered medical practitioner, that there were no medical objections to the order being made.

This matter was fully discussed in Committee. We welcome the Amendment, but we do not think that it goes far enough. It is, however, a step in the right direction. I feel sure that later it will be found necessary to go further in this direction, but for the moment we are disposed to accept the Amendment.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I should like to give the hon. and learned Gentleman at least some assurance on this point. I know the Amendment does not go so far as certain hon. Members wish, but we have tried to meet the views which were strongly expressed in Committee about medical certificates, and I can assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor intends to make rules that will result in a medical certificate being required in the generality of cases in England and Wales, although he intends to except certain kinds of cases—for example, those in which the adopter, or one of them in a joint application, is the mother of the child. In administrative practice, this Amendment will go a long way to meet the point.

Mr. Wells

I very much welcome what the hon. Lady has said. If I am not straying too far outside the rules of order, may I ask her whether the Lord Chancellor also proposes to make rules in relation to the costs? The hon. Lady will remember that the Hurst Committee made a recommendation that there should be compulsory medical examination and that the costs of such examination should be met out of public funds.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

We do not propose to go as far as that. We feel that this matter is one of several questions of costs which automatically apply in general adoption proceedings.

Amendment agreed to.