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Adoption and Children Act 2002

Section 138: Proceedings in Great Britain

337.The usual time limit for the prosecution of summary only offences (all offences under the Act are summary only offences except those provided for by sections 83 and 85) under the Act is six months after the commission of the offence (see section 127(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980).  However, in some cases offences may not come to light immediately, for example where they are uncovered by an inspection or in the case of the private adoption of a baby or an infant until the child needs to be enrolled for primary school education. In those cases where it is possible that it will take some time for an offence to come to the attention of the authorities the time limit has been extended.  In the case of offences committed under sections 9, 59, 93, 94, 95 and 129, section 138 therefore extends the time limit to six years after the commission of an offence. Proceedings may be brought within six months of the date the prosecutor had sufficient evidence to warrant bringing the proceedings.

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