§ [Nos. 40–54]
§ Clause 17, page 12, line 21, after ("investigate") insert ("(a).").
§ Clause 17, page 12, line 23, at end insert
§ (" and
§ (b) whether the child was placed with the applicant in contravention of section 29 of the 1958 Act").
§ Clause 19, line 36, leave out ("or 15") and insert ("15 or (Adoption of children abroad.").
§ Clause 19, line 36, Page 13, line 1, leave out ("adoption") and insert ("reporting.").
§ Clause 19, line 36, line 2, leave out ("assisting the court in any way the court may direct") and insert (performing such other duties as the rules may prescribe.")
§ Clause 19, line 36, leave out lines 4 and 5 and insert—
§ ("(1 A) A person who is employed—
- (a) in the case of an application for an adoption order, by the adoption agency by whom the child was placed; or
- (b) in the case of an application under section 13, by the adoption agency by whom the application was made; or
- (c) in the case of an application under section 15, by the adoption agency with the parental rights and duties relating to the child,
§ shall not be appointed to act as guardian ad litem or reporting officer for the purposes of the application but, subject to that, the same person may if the court thinks fit be both guardian ad litem and reporting officer.")
§ Clause 19, line 36, line 6, leave out ("adoption") and insert ("reporting.")
§ Clause 21, page 13, line 26, leave out ("whose") and insert ("who can be found and whose agreement or.")
§ Clause 21, page 13, line 27, after (required") insert ("to be given or dispensed with.")
§ Clause 21, page 13, line 28, leave out ("will") and insert ("may".)825
§ Clause 21, page 13, line 30, at end insert—
§ ("(1A) In the case of an application under section (Adoption of children abroad) rules shall require every person who can be found and whose agreement to the making of the order would be required if the application were for an adoption order (other than a Convention adoption order) to be notified as aforesaid.")
§ Clause 21, page 13, line 31, leave out subsection (2).
§ Clause 21, page 13, page 14, line 13, leave out paragraph (a),
§ After Clause 23 insert the following new Clause—
- (1) Where on an application made in relation to a child by a person who is not domiciled in England and Wales or Scotland an authorised court is satisfied that he intends to adopt the child under the law of or within the country in which the applicant is domiciled, the court may, subject to the following provisions of this section, make an order vesting in him the parental rights and duties relating to the child.
- (2) The provisions of the Part relating to adoption orders, except sections 7(1), (9) and (10), 9(2), 10(2), 13 to 15, 18, 21(1), 22 and 23 shall apply in relation to orders under this section as they apply in relation to adoption orders subject to the modification that in section 8(1) for "19" and "13" there are substituted "32" and "26" respectively.
- (3) Sections 20 to 23 and 24(4) and (5) of the 1958 Act shall apply in relation to an order under this section as they apply in relation to an adoption order except that any entry in the Registers of Births, the Register of Births or the Adopted Children Register which is required to be marked in consequence of the making of an order under this section shall, in lieu of being marked with the word "Adopted" or "Re-adopted" (with or without the addition of the word "(Scotland)" or "(England)", be marked with the words "Proposed Foreign Adoption" or "Proposed Foreign Re-adoption", as the case may require.
- (4) References in Parts III and IV of the 1958 Act to an adoption order include references to an order under this section, and references in this Act and in the 1958 Act to the placing of children for adoption or to the making of arrangements for adoption include references to the placing of children for adoption abroad or the making of arrangements for adoption abroad.")
§ Clause 24, leave out Clause 24.
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 40 to 54 en bloc.
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
Perhaps I should say, my Lords, that if any noble 826 Lord is in any sense aggrieved, he can stop Amendments being moved en bloc and can raise a point on any Amendment.
§ Lord REDESDALE
My Lords, if the noble Lord continues to take it at this Charge of the Light Brigade pace after Clause 49, then certainly I for one will come in on every single point that arises. But I will bear with him for the moment.
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
My Lords, I hope the noble Lord is aware of the possible consequences of such an action. Your Lordships will have a particular interest in Amendments Nos. 43 to 46. This House amended Clause 19 to prevent the guardian ad litem and adoption officer from being the same person, as your Lordships wanted to ensure that the child's interests were fully safeguarded. Some professional associations pointed out that the term "adoption officer" was confusing, because this was the name used by some local authorities to designate the social worker engaged in adoption work. To make it absolutely clear that reporting officers are to be independent officers appointed by the court, and not local authority employees, Amendments Nos. 43 and 46 have substituted the term "reporting officer" for "adoption officer", a change which, perhaps I should say vehemently, and I do not say that unkindly, the noble Lord, Lord Sandys, pressed for. At the same time, the Government have had to bear in mind the views of bodies such as the Association of Directors of Social Services, which comment:To insist that the guardian ad litem and reporting officer be separate people not only generates unnecessary duplication of work"—This, of course, would be wasteful of scarce social work resources—but, more importantly, deprives the court of the possibility of having a report from a person who has investigated all the circumstances of the case personally.The main concern of the House was that a guardian ad litem or reporting officer must be independent of the adoption agency involved in an application for an adoption order or an order under Clause 13 or 15, thus ensuring unbiased representation for the child. Amendment No. 45 represents the Government's wish to take account of all these views by listing on the face of the Bill the persons who shall not be employed as guardians ad litem or reporting officers. The House 827 may feel still further reassured by Amendment No. 44, which provides that rules shall prescribe the duties of reporting officers as well as guardians ad litem. The other Amendments in this group are mainly technical replacing in terms of the Bill the provisions of the present law; Amendment No. 53 inserts after Clause 23 a new clause relating to the adoption of children abroad and replaces provisions relating to provisional orders in the 1958 Act.
§ The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Lord Maybray-King)
My Lords, if the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, wishes me to put any of these Amendments separately, I shall be happy to do so.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in their said Amendments.—(Lord Wells-Pestell.)
§ Lord SANDYS
My Lords, the House will be grateful to the noble Lord for mentioning in some detail Amendments Nos. 44 and 45 which, of course, relate to the guardian ad litem, and this in some respects justifies the bicameral system of Parliament. We discussed this problem at considerable length in your Lordships' House to ensure the independent representation of a child, and there is no doubt whatever that in these two Amendments another place has greatly amplified, enlarged and improved the situation. I am much obliged to the noble Lord for saying what he has.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.