Clause 64 - Status conferred by adoption

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:45 am ar 6 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Ceidwadwyr, North West Norfolk 9:45, 6 Rhagfyr 2001

I am grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for her reply. I understand her logic exactly. However, I have some suggestions. The first relates to property rights. Inheritance rights might be an issue—property might be entailed—or other rights under intestacy law might be involved, but surely it would be simple to draft another subsection to prevent the rights of adopted children in those matters being compromised or jeopardised. Such a provision in the Bill would surely override other law, or operate alongside it. If the Parliamentary Secretary's legal advisers tell her that it would not be acceptable to the courts to put those rights of adoptive children in the Bill, perhaps other legislation should be changed. If the background inheritance and intestacy law is relevant, surely we can change it in statute.

I take on board the Parliamentary Secretary's point about single people who adopt and the way in which the rights of children of those adopters need to be protected. Putting that to one side, we could still leave out the phrase

''if the person had been born'' so that the clause would read:

''An adopted person is to be treated in law . . . where the adopters are a married couple, as a child of the marriage''.

We could then insert a subsection to protect children's rights with respect to inheritance and intestacy. Will the Parliamentary Secretary comment on that specific recommendation? Could we return to the matter on Report, after she has discussed it with the Lord Chancellor and other legal brains?