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Adoption and Children Act 2002

Section 101: Privacy

252.Section 101 provides that proceedings under the Act may be disposed of in private in the High Court or in a county court.  The position in magistrates’ courts is that section 70(3) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 will continue to apply and is amended consequentially in Schedule 3 to the Act.  This means that only those directly concerned with the case may be present during the proceedings.

253.Subsection (2) ensures that the publication of information relating to adoption proceedings before any court sitting in private can be a contempt of court under the courts’ inherent jurisdiction.  Subsection (3) aligns the protection for the privacy of children concerned in proceedings under the Children Act 1989 and the Act.  There will be the same power to make court rules for the magistrates’ courts to sit in private in adoption proceedings.  There will be the same criminal offence of publishing any material which is intended or likely to identify any child involved (or their address or school) in any proceedings under the Children Act 1989 or proceedings under this Act.  This will be triable in the magistrates’ courts and punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

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