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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 156: Rules of court

Section 156 enables rules of court to be made to deal generally with all matters of procedure. Under this section, “rules of court” includes family proceedings rules and county court rules as well as rules as defined in section 21(4) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954. Family proceedings rules cited in subsection (1) has the same meaning given in Article 12(5) of the Family Law (Northern Ireland) Order 1993 (subsection (2)).

Section 156 provides in particular for rules to say where and to whom notice is given of hearings for placement and adoption orders. Subsection (3) provides that this notice must state the date and place of the application and the person to whom notice is given need not attend the hearing, unless they wish to attend or the court requires it. Subsection (4) makes provision as to whom that notice must be given. For applications for placement and adoption orders this is every person who can be found whose consent is necessary or could be dispensed with under section 18 or 44. In these cases rules may prescribe that where such a person cannot be found another relative must be given such notice. For applications to vary or revoke a placement order, notice should be given to each party whose consent to the placement order was necessary (or would have been required but for the dispensation provisions). For applications for an adoption order where advance consent has been given, notice should be given to each parent or guardian unless they have stated that they do not wish to be provided with such notice. Subsection (5) defines a relative. Rules of the court may, for the purposes of the law relating to contempt of court, authorise the publication, in such circumstances as may be specified, of information relating to be proceedings held in private involving children (subsection (6)).

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Explanatory Notes

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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