- Latest available (Revised)
- Original (As enacted)
The term provision is used to describe a definable element in a piece of legislation that has legislative effect – such as a Part, Chapter or section. A version of a provision is prospective either:
Commencement Orders listed in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ box as not yet applied may bring this prospective version into force.
There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations.
Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. Changes and effects are recorded by our editorial team in lists which can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area. Where those effects have yet to be applied to the text of the legislation by the editorial team they are also listed alongside the legislation in the affected provisions. Use the ‘more’ link to open the changes and effects relevant to the provision you are viewing.
This section lists the changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Act, associated Parts and Chapters where applicable. This includes any insertions of whole new Parts, Chapters or provisions yet to be inserted into this Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing.
This section lists the commencement orders yet to be applied to the whole Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing. Where applicable the commencement orders are listed under two headings, firstly those that bring some part of the Act you are viewing into force and secondly, those that bring into force legislation that affects some part of the legislation you are viewing. If you are viewing a prospective version or there is a prospective version available there may be commencement orders listed here that are relevant to the provision you are viewing.
Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:
The objects of the present Convention are—
(a)to establish safeguards to ensure that intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights as recognised in international law;
(b)to establish a system of co-operation amongst Contracting States to ensure that those safeguards are respected and thereby prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children;
(c)to secure the recognition in Contracting States of adoptions made in accordance with the Convention.
1The Convention shall apply where a child habitually resident in one Contracting State (“the State of origin”) has been, is being, or is to be moved to another Contracting State (“the receiving State”) either after his or her adoption in the State of origin by spouses or a person habitually resident in the receiving State, or for the purposes of such an adoption in the receiving State or in the State of origin.E+W+S
2The Convention covers only adoptions which create a permanent parent-child relationship.E+W+S
The Convention ceases to apply if the agreements mentioned in Article 17, sub-paragraph (c), have not been given before the child attains the age of eighteen years.
An adoption within the scope of the Convention shall take place only if the competent authorities of the State of origin—
(a)have established that the child is adoptable;
(b)have determined, after possibilities for placement of the child within the State of origin have been given due consideration, that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests;
(c)have ensured that—
(i)the persons, institutions and authorities whose consent is necessary for adoption, have been counselled as may be necessary and duly informed of the effects of their consent, in particular whether or not an adoption will result in the termination of the legal relationship between the child and his or her family of origin,
(ii)such persons, institutions and authorities have given their consent freely, in the required legal form, and expressed or evidenced in writing,
(iii)the consents have not been induced by payment or compensation of any kind and have not been withdrawn, and
(iv)the consent of the mother, where required, has been given only after the birth of the child; and
(d)have ensured, having regard to the age and degree of maturity of the child, that—
(i)he or she has been counselled and duly informed of the effects of the adoption and of his or her consent to the adoption, where such consent is required,
(ii)consideration has been given to the child’s wishes and opinions,
(iii)the child’s consent to the adoption, where such consent is required, has been given freely, in the required legal form, and expressed or evidenced in writing, and
(iv)such consent has not been induced by payment or compensation of any kind.
An adoption within the scope of the Convention shall take place only if the competent authorities of the receiving State—
(a)have determined that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to adopt;
(b)have ensured that the prospective adoptive parents have been counselled as may be necessary; and
(c)have determined that the child is or will be authorised to enter and reside permanently in that State.
1A Contracting State shall designate a Central Authority to discharge the duties which are imposed by the Convention upon such authorities.E+W+S
2Federal States, States with more than one system of law or States having autonomous territorial units shall be free to appoint more than one Central Authority and to specify the territorial or personal extent of their functions. Where a State has appointed more than one Central Authority, it shall designate the Central Authority to which any communication may be addressed for transmission to the appropriate Central Authority within that State.E+W+S
1Central Authorities shall co-operate with each other and promote co-operation amongst the competent authorities in their States to protect children and to achieve the other objects of the Convention.E+W+S
2They shall take directly all appropriate measures to—E+W+S
(a)provide information as to the laws of their States concerning adoption and other general information, such as statistics and standard forms;
(b)keep one another informed about the operation of the Convention and, as far as possible, eliminate any obstacles to its application.
Central Authorities shall take, directly or through public authorities, all appropriate measures to prevent improper financial or other gain in connection with an adoption and to deter all practices contrary to the objects of the Convention.
Central Authorities shall take, directly or through public authorities or other bodies duly accredited in their State, all appropriate measures, in particular to—
(a)collect, preserve and exchange information about the situation of the child and the prospective adoptive parents, so far as is necessary to complete the adoption;
(b)facilitate, follow and expedite proceedings with a view to obtaining the adoption;
(c)promote the development of adoption counselling and post-adoption services in their States;
(d)provide each other with general evaluation reports about experience with intercountry adoption;
(e)reply, in so far as is permitted by the law of their State, to justified requests from other Central Authorities or public authorities for information about a particular adoption situation.
Accreditation shall only be granted to and maintained by bodies demonstrating their competence to carry out properly the tasks with which they may be entrusted.
An accredited body shall—
(a)pursue only non-profit objectives according to such conditions and within such limits as may be established by the competent authorities of the State of accreditation;
(b)be directed and staffed by persons qualified by their ethical standards and by training or experience to work in the field of intercountry adoption; and
(c)be subject to supervision by competent authorities of that State as to its composition, operation and financial situation.
A body accredited in one Contracting State may act in another Contracting State only if the competent authorities of both States have authorised it to do so.
The designation of the Central Authorities and, where appropriate, the extent of their functions, as well as the names and addresses of the accredited bodies shall be communicated by each Contracting State to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
Persons habitually resident in a Contracting State, who wish to adopt a child habitually resident in another Contracting State, shall apply to the Central Authority in the State of their habitual residence.
1If the Central Authority of the receiving State is satisfied that the applicants are eligible and suited to adopt, it shall prepare a report including information about their identity, eligibility and suitability to adopt, background, family and medical history, social environment, reasons for adoption, ability to undertake an intercountry adoption, as well as the characteristics of the children for whom they would be qualified to care.E+W+S
2It shall transmit the report to the Central Authority of the State of origin.E+W+S
1If the Central Authority of the State of origin is satisfied that the child is adoptable, it shall—E+W+S
(a)prepare a report including information about his or her identity, adoptability, background, social environment, family history, medical history including that of the child’s family, and any special needs of the child;
(b)give due consideration to the child’s upbringing and to his or her ethnic, religious and cultural background;
(c)ensure that consents have been obtained in accordance with Article 4; and
(d)determine, on the basis in particular of the reports relating to the child and the prospective adoptive parents, whether the envisaged placement is in the best interests of the child.
2It shall transmit to the Central Authority of the receiving State its report on the child, proof that the necessary consents have been obtained and the reasons for its determination on the placement, taking care not to reveal the identity of the mother and the father if, in the State of origin, these identities may not be disclosed.E+W+S
Any decision in the State of origin that a child should be entrusted to prospective adoptive parents may only be made if—
(a)the Central Authority of that State has ensured that the prospective adoptive parents agree;
(b)the Central Authority of the receiving State has approved such decision, where such approval is required by the law of that State or by the Central Authority of the State of origin;
(c)the Central Authorities of both States have agreed that the adoption may proceed; and
(d)it has been determined, in accordance with Article 5, that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to adopt and that the child is or will be authorised to enter and reside permanently in the receiving State.
The Central Authorities of both States shall take all necessary steps to obtain permission for the child to leave the State of origin and to enter and reside permanently in the receiving State.
1The transfer of the child to the receiving State may only be carried out if the requirements of Article 17 have been satisfied.E+W+S
2The Central Authorities of both States shall ensure that this transfer takes place in secure and appropriate circumstances and, if possible, in the company of the adoptive or prospective adoptive parents.E+W+S
3If the transfer of the child does not take place, the reports referred to in Articles 15 and 16 are to be sent back to the authorities who forwarded them.E+W+S
The Central Authorities shall keep each other informed about the adoption process and the measures taken to complete it, as well as about the progress of the placement if a probationary period is required.
1Where the adoption is to take place after the transfer of the child to the receiving State and it appears to the Central Authority of that State that the continued placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents is not in the child’s best interests, such Central Authority shall take the measures necessary to protect the child, in particular—E+W+S
(a)to cause the child to be withdrawn from the prospective adoptive parents and to arrange temporary care;
(b)in consultation with the Central Authority of the State of origin, to arrange without delay a new placement of the child with a view to adoption or, if this is not appropriate, to arrange alternative long-term care; an adoption shall not take place until the Central Authority of the State of origin has been duly informed concerning the new prospective adoptive parents;
(c)as a last resort, to arrange the return of the child, if his or her interests so require.
2Having regard in particular to the age and degree of maturity of the child, he or she shall be consulted and, where appropriate, his or her consent obtained in relation to measures to be taken under this Article.E+W+S
1The functions of a Central Authority under this Chapter may be performed by public authorities or by bodies accredited under Chapter III, to the extent permitted by the law of its State.E+W+S
2Any Contracting State may declare to the depositary of the Convention that the functions of the Central Authority under Articles 15 to 21 may be performed in that State, to the extent permitted by the law and subject to the supervision of the competent authorities of that State, also by bodies or persons who—E+W+S
(a)meet the requirements of integrity, professional competence, experience and accountability of that State; and
(b)are qualified by their ethical standards and by training or experience to work in the field of intercountry adoption.
3A Contracting State which makes the declaration provided for in paragraph 2 shall keep the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law informed of the names and addresses of these bodies and persons.E+W+S
4Any Contracting State may declare to the depositary of the Convention that adoptions of children habitually resident in its territory may only take place if the functions of the Central Authorities are performed in accordance with paragraph 1.E+W+S
5Notwithstanding any declaration made under paragraph 2, the reports provided for in Articles 15 and 16 shall, in every case, be prepared under the responsibility of the Central Authority or other authorities or bodies in accordance with paragraph 1.E+W+S
1An adoption certified by the competent authority of the State of the adoption as having been made in accordance with the Convention shall be recognised by operation of law in the other Contracting States. The certificate shall specify when and by whom the agreements under Article 17, sub-paragraph c, were given.E+W+S
2Each Contracting State shall, at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, notify the depositary of the Convention of the identity and the functions of the authority or the authorities which, in that State, are competent to make the certification. It shall also notify the depositary of any modification in the designation of these authorities.E+W+S
The recognition of an adoption may be refused in a contracting State only if the adoption is manifestly contrary to its public policy, taking into account the best interests of the child.
Any Contracting State may declare to the depositary of the convention that it will not be bound under this Convention to recognise adoptions made in accordance with an agreement concluded by application of Article 39, paragraph 2.
1The recognition of an adoption includes recognition ofE+W+S
(a)the legal parent-child relationship between the child and his or her adoptive parents;
(b)parental responsibility of the adoptive parents for the child;
(c)the termination of a pre-existing legal relationship between the child and his or her mother and father, if the adoption has this effect in the Contracting State where it was made.
2In the case of an adoption having the effect of terminating a pre-existing legal parent-child relationship, the child shall enjoy in the receiving State, and in any other Contracting State where the adoption is recognised, rights equivalent to those resulting from adoptions having this effect in each such State.E+W+S
3The preceding paragraphs shall not prejudice the application of any provision more favourable for the child, in force in the Contracting State which recognises the adoption.E+W+S
1Where an adoption granted in the State of origin does not have the effect of terminating a pre-existing legal parent-child relationship, it may, in the receiving State which recognises the adoption under the Convention, be converted into an adoption having such an effect—E+W+S
(a)if the law of the receiving State so permits; and
(b)if the consents referred to in Article 4, sub-paragraphs c and d, have been or are given for the purpose of such an adoption.
2Article 23 applies to the decision converting the adoption.E+W+S
The Convention does not affect any law of a State of origin which requires that the adoption of a child habitually resident within that State take place in that State or which prohibits the child’s placement in, or transfer to, the receiving State prior to adoption.
There shall be no contact between the prospective adoptive parents and the child’s parents or any other person who has care of the child until the requirements of Article 4, sub-paragraphs a to c, and Article 5, sub-paragraph a, have been met, unless the adoption takes place within a family or unless the contact is in compliance with the conditions established by the competent authority of the State of origin.
1The competent authorities of a Contracting State shall ensure that information held by them concerning the child’s origin, in particular information concerning the identity of his or her parents, as well as the medical history, is preserved.E+W+S
2They shall ensure that the child or his or her representative has access to such information, under appropriate guidance, in so far as is permitted by the law of that State.E+W+S
Without prejudice to Article 30, personal data gathered or transmitted under the Convention, especially data referred to in Articles 15 and 16, shall be used only for the purposes for which they were gathered or transmitted.
1No one shall derive improper financial or other gain from an activity related to an intercountry adoption.E+W+S
2Only costs and expenses, including reasonable professional fees of persons involved in the adoption, may be charged or paid.E+W+S
3The directors, administrators and employees of bodies involved in an adoption shall not receive remuneration which is unreasonably high in relation to services rendered.E+W+S
Acompetentauthority which finds that any provision of the Convention has not been respected or that there is a serious risk that it may not be respected, shall immediately inform the Central Authority of its State. This Central Authority shall be responsible for ensuring that appropriate measures are taken.
If the competent authority of the State of destination of a document so requests, a translation certified as being in conformity with the original must be furnished. Unless otherwise provided, the costs of such translation are to be borne by the prospective adoptive parents.
The competent authorities of the contracting States shall act expeditiously in the process of adoption.
In relation to a State which has two or more systems of law with regard to adoption applicable in different territorial units—
(a)any reference to habitual residence in that State shall be construed as referring to habitual residence in a territorial unit of that State;
(b)any reference to the law of that State shall be construed as referring to the law in force in the relevant territorial unit;
(c)any reference to the competent authorities or to the public authorities of that State shall be construed as referring to those authorised to act in the relevant territorial unit;
(d)any reference to the accredited bodies of that State shall be construed as referring to bodies accredited in the relevant territorial unit.
In relation to a State which with regard to adoption has two or more systems of law applicable to different categories of persons, any reference to the law of that State shall be construed as referring to the legal system specified by the law of that State.
A State within which different territorial units have their own rules of law in respect of adoption shall not be bound to apply the Convention where a State with a unified system of law would not be bound to do so.
1The convention does not affect any international instrument to which Contracting States are Parties and which contains provisions on matters governed by the Convention, unless a contrary declaration is made by the States parties to such instrument.E+W+S
2Any Contracting State may enter into agreements with one or more other Contracting States, with a view to improving the application of the Convention in their mutual relations. These agreements may derogate only from the provisions of Articles 14 to 16 and 18 to 21. The States which have concluded such an agreement shall transmit a copy to the depositary of the Convention.E+W+S
No reservation to the Convention shall be permitted.
The Convention shall apply in every case where an application pursuant to Article 14 has been received after the Convention has entered into force in the receiving State and the State of origin.
The Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law shall at regular intervals convene a Special Commission in order to review the practical operation of the Convention.
Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.
Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.
Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:
Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including: