Clause 83 - Overseas adoptions

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:15 am ar 11 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Robert Walter Robert Walter Ceidwadwyr, North Dorset 11:15, 11 Rhagfyr 2001

The Minister is right to allude to the principal positive reason for including the wording, which relates to the status of the child or adult and is relevant to such issues as inheritance. I am concerned—the Minister alluded to this and referred me to other clauses, such as clause 47, which I am not sure we have considered—that the definition of ''children'' may include someone who has attained the age of 18 and to whom the procedures previously applied but were not concluded. That is fine if the definition is regarded in a positive sense, but I am

concerned that a court, a clever lawyer or someone wishing to cause mischief might regard the wording in a negative sense.

The Minister appears to be amused. I hope that she does not feel that I was trying to cause mischief; I am not. I am trying to ensure that the sense of the clause will not cause any heartache, pain or suffering as a result of someone interpreting it to mean that if an adoption procedure had been undertaken but not technically completed before a child reached 18, the adoption may be open to challenge. That is worrying if one considers the definition from a negative standpoint. I hope that lawyers and others who try to ascertain the meaning of the definition will read the record of our proceedings to understand what we meant by inserting a definition that states:

'''Children' includes persons who were children at the time the adoption was applied for''.

The definition is meant in the positive sense in which the Minister has expressed it and not in the negative sense that has caused me some concern. Having made my point, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 83 ordered to stand part of the Bill.