Clause 126 - Rules of procedure

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:45 pm ar 17 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 2:45, 17 Ionawr 2002

I beg to move amendment No. 11, in page 70, line 21, at end insert—

'( ) In the case of an application for a placement order, for the variation or revocation of such an order, or for an adoption order, the rules must require that the court or adoption agency make available to the legal representatives of the parent or guardian of any child subject to such an application all records used by the court or adoption agency in relation to that proceeding.'.

The amendment stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner), who has shown an extra-mural interest in the Committee by tabling amendments and a new clause of great merit. This is a probing amendment that seeks to establish balance and fairness in the legal processes connected with adoption. The amendment would add a condition to the procedure for the conduct of court cases.

The point of the amendment is to make it clear that all the information that is made available to the court should be made available to the legal representatives of the child's natural parents, even if such information is not, for whatever reasons decided by the court, made available to the parents. That is self-explanatory. This is an important stage in the adoption process, at which the parent or guardian may be on the verge of relinquishing control of or responsibility for the child. It is even more important than usual that every party to those proceedings should feel that they have had a full and fair opportunity to make their case, and that all the relevant information has been available to them, hence the amendment's stipulation

that those documents should be made available, at the very least, to the legal representatives of the parent or guardian.

I said that this was a probing amendment. It may be that what it deals with is already catered for elsewhere in the Bill, but it seems to me to make a sensible addition to the procedures that the Bill introduces.