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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 56: Restrictions on disclosure of protected etc. information

Section 56 makes provision for protected information. Protected information is defined in subsection (3). It is any identifying information (defined in subsection (4)) sought by someone other than the person it is about, and any information held under subsection (2). Under subsections (1) and (2) protected information must only be disclosed in accordance with sections 55 to 64.

Identifying information would include names, residential, educational and employment addresses, photographic or audio-visual material, case records and legal and medical information held by adoption agencies. The information held under subsection (2) is any information held by an adoption agency, which it has obtained from the Registrar General under section 78(5) or any other information that would enable an adopted person to obtain a certified copy of their birth record or any information about an entry in the Adoption Contact Register about the adopted person.

Subsection (5) provides that the disclosure of protected information where an agreement is reached that includes the adoption agency is not prevented by anything in this group of sections. This is intended to allow agreement between the adoption agency, the adoptive parents and the birth parents for the sharing of protected information. Subsection (6) provides a power to make regulations which may authorise or require an adoption agency to disclose protected information to someone other than the adopted person.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly 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 accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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