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Adoption and Children Act 2002

Intercountry adoption

14.The Act incorporates most of the provisions of the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999 (the 1999 Act), which will largely be repealed in respect of England and Wales when the Act is implemented.  The 1999 Act provides a statutory basis for the regulation of intercountry adoption, enables the United Kingdom to ratify the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption and introduces sanctions against those who bring children into the United Kingdom without following the proper procedures. The 1999 Act also clarifies that local authorities have a duty to provide, or arrange to provide, an intercountry adoption service and provides that children who are the subject of a Convention adoption will receive British nationality automatically.

15.To ensure that people living in the United Kingdom wishing to adopt a child from overseas follow the appropriate approval procedure, whether they adopt the child abroad or in the United Kingdom, the Act enhances the safeguards in the 1999 Act. It incorporates the restriction in that Act on bringing a child into the United Kingdom for the purpose of adoption by a British resident, and provides a new restriction where a child is brought into the United Kingdom if he has been adopted by a British resident under an adoption order made under the law of a country outside the British Islands, which is not a Hague Convention adoption, within the previous six months. It also provides for a Crown Court to hear these cases and provides a new penalty in cases where the magistrates’ court refers the case to a Crown Court or the defendant enters a plea of not guilty and elects for a Crown Court trial. In such cases, the maximum penalty will be 12 months’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both.

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