Search Legislation

The Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987

 Help about what version

What Version

 Help about advanced features

Advanced Features

More Resources

Changes over time for: Section 40

 Help about opening options

Exit from the EU:

There may be changes and effects to this Legislation not yet recorded or applied to the text

New legislation with 'EU Exit' in the title that references (and therefore may change) this legislation item:

Due to a high volume of changes being made to legislation for EU exit, we have not been able to research and record them all. More information is available about EU Legislation and UK Law. The following results are legislation items with 'EU Exit' in their title that directly reference and therefore may change this item of legislation. To understand whether or not the text of this legislation is up to date, please check those references in the following pieces of legislation.

There are currently no additional references that you need to check.

Changes to legislation:

There are currently no known outstanding effects for the The Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, Section 40. Help about Changes to Legislation


Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. At the current time any known changes or effects made by subsequent legislation have been applied to the text of the legislation you are viewing by the editorial team. Please see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for details regarding the timescales for which new effects are identified and recorded on this site.

Status conferred by adoptionN.I.

40.—(1) An adopted child shall be treated in law—

(a)where the adopters are a married couple, as if he had been born as a child of the marriage (whether or not he was in fact born after the marriage was solemnized);

[F1(aa)where the adopters are two people who are civil partners of each other, as if the child had been born as a child of the civil partnership (whether or not the child was in fact born after the formation of the civil partnership);]

(b)in any other case, as if he had been born to the [F2adopters or] adopter in wedlock (but not as a child of any actual marriage of the [F2adopters or] adopter).

(2) An adopted child shall, subject to[F3 paragraphs (3) and (3A)], be treated in law as if he were not the child of any person other than the adopters or adopter.

(3) Paragraph (2)—

(a)does not apply for the purposes of the Table in Article 18(1) of the Family Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1984F4[F5 or for the purposes of Schedule 12 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004] (prohibited degrees of relationship); and

(b)in the case of a child adopted by one of its natural parents as sole adoptive parent, has no effect as respects entitlement to property depending on relationship to that parent, or as respects anything else depending on that relationship.

[F3(3A) Where, in the case of a Convention adoption, the High Court is satisfied, on an application under this paragraph—

(a)that under the law of the country in which the adoption was effected the adoption is not a full adoption;

(b)that the consents referred to in Article 4(c) and (d) of the Convention have not been given for a full adoption, or that the United Kingdom is not the receiving State (within the meaning of Article 2 of the Convention); and

(c)that it would be more favourable to the adopted child for a direction to be given under this paragraph,

the High Court may direct that paragraph (2) shall not apply, or shall not apply to such extent as may be specified in the direction.

(3B) In paragraph (3A) “full adoption” means an adoption by virtue of which the adopted child falls to be treated in law as if he were not the child of any person other than the adopters or adopter.

(3C) The following provisions of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (NI 4)—

(a)Article 35 (provisions relating to the Attorney-General); and

(b)Article 36 (supplementary provisions as to declarations),

shall apply in relation to, and to an application for, a direction under paragraph (3A) as they apply in relation to, and to an application for, a declaration under Part V of that Order.]

(4) It is hereby declared that this Article prevents an adopted child from being illegitimate.

(5) This Article has effect—

(a)in the case of an adoption before the commencement of this Part from that time, and

(b)in the case of any other adoption, from the date of the adoption.

[F6(5A) But paragraph (1)(aa) applies only as from 13th January 2020, even in the case of an adoption before that date.]

(6) Subject to the provisions of this Part, this Article—

(a)applies for the construction of statutory provisions or instruments passed or made before the adoption or later, and so applies subject to any contrary indication; and

(b)has effect as respects things done, or events occurring, after the adoption, or after the commencement of this Part, whichever is the later.

[F7(7) For the purposes of the application of paragraph (6) in a case within paragraph (1)(aa), the reference in paragraph (6)(b) to the commencement of this Part is to be read as a reference to 12th January 2020.]

Back to top


Print Options


Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made): The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.


See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.


Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources

Timeline of Changes

This timeline shows the different points in time where a change occurred. The dates will coincide with the earliest date on which the change (e.g an insertion, a repeal or a substitution) that was applied came into force. The first date in the timeline will usually be the earliest date when the provision came into force. In some cases the first date is 01/02/1991 (or for Northern Ireland legislation 01/01/2006). This date is our basedate. No versions before this date are available. For further information see the Editorial Practice Guide and Glossary under Help.