29 1976

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Number 29 of 1976


ADOPTION ACT, 1976


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Definitions.

2.

Validity of certain adoption orders and consents to adoption orders.

3.

Information for persons consenting to adoption orders.

4.

Enquiries on behalf of Board.

5.

Adoption orders not to be declared invalid if declarations not in best interests of children concerned.

6.

Orders by court as to custody of children in certain cases.

7.

Construction of references to child in other Acts.

8.

Privacy of records.

9.

Short title, construction and collective citation.

Acts Referred to

Adoption Act, 1952

1952, No. 25.

Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964

1964, No. 7.

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Number 29 of 1976


ADOPTION ACT, 1976


AN ACT TO AMEND AND EXTEND THE ADOPTION ACTS, 1952 TO 1974. [13th July, 1976]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

Definitions.

1. —In this Act—

adoption order” means an order under section 9 of the Principal Act;

the Board” means An Bord Uchtála;

the Principal Act” means the Adoption Act, 1952 .

Validity of certain adoption orders and consents to adoption orders.

2. —(1) Where, in relation to an adoption order made before the passing of this Act, the consent to the making of the order of every person whose consent was necessary and was not dispensed with was given in a form for that purpose contained at any time in rules under section 5 of the Principal Act—

(a) the Board shall be deemed to have complied with section 15 (2) of the Principal Act,

(b) a consent so given shall not be invalid, insufficient or otherwise defective by reason only of either or both of the following circumstances—

(i) that the person who gave the consent was not aware that the consent could have been withdrawn at any time before the making of the order,

(ii) that such person was not aware of the date on which the Board proposed to make the order, and

(c) the order shall not be invalid by reason only of either or both of the following circumstances—

(i) that a person who gave a consent to the order was not aware of his rights under section 16 of the Principal Act,

(ii) that the Board had not information as to whether the person was aware of those rights.

(2) Where, in relation to an adoption order made after the passing of this Act, a consent to the making of the order was given before such passing in a form for that purpose contained at any time in rules under section 5 of the Principal Act—

(a) the Board shall be deemed to have complied with section 15 (2) of the Principal Act in relation to the consent,

(b) the provisions of subsection (1) (b) of this section shall apply in relation to the consent, and

(c) the order shall not be invalid by reason only of either or both of the following circumstances—

(i) that the person who gave the consent was not aware of his rights under section 16 of the Principal Act,

(ii) that the Board had not information as to whether the person was aware of those rights:

Provided however that nothing in this subsection shall be construed as limiting the right of the Board to make or cause to be made any enquiries it considers necessary.

Information for persons consenting to adoption orders.

3. —(1) A person whose consent to the making of an adoption order is necessary—

(a) shall be informed before he gives the consent or as soon as may be after such giving—

(i) that the consent may be withdrawn at any time before the making of the order, and

(ii) that he is entitled to be heard on the application for the order, and

(b) shall, if he gives the consent, be asked, at the time of such giving or thereafter, to indicate in writing if he wishes—

(i) to be informed of the date on which the Board will, if he wishes to be heard, hear him or his counsel or solicitor on the application for the order, or

(ii) otherwise to be consulted again in relation to the application for the order.

(2) In case a person has indicated in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section that he does not wish to be informed of the date on which the Board will hear him or his counsel or solicitor on the application for the adoption order to which his consent related or otherwise to be consulted again in relation to the application, it shall not be necessary so to inform or consult him, but in any other case (including the case where he has not given an indication in pursuance of the said subsection (1)), he shall be so informed and consulted and, if he cannot be found, the Board shall deal with the application as if he had not given his consent.

(3) This section does not apply in relation to a consent to which section 2 of this Act applies.

Enquiries on behalf of Board.

4. —(1) For the purposes of compliance with section 15 (2) of the Principal Act and section 3 of this Act, the Board may request and authorise any person either in or outside the State whom it considers suitable for the purpose to make enquiries on its behalf and the Board shall be entitled, if it so thinks fit and accepts the report of the person in relation to the enquiries, to regard such acceptance as compliance by it with the said section 15 (2) of the Principal Act, and as sufficiently demonstrating compliance with section 3 of this Act, as respects the subject matter of the enquiries.

(2) The powers conferred on the Board by subsection (1) of this section may be exercised by it as an alternative or in addition to hearing a person whose consent to the making of an adoption order is being considered by the Board or having enquiries made of that person in pursuance of paragraph 11 (3) of the First Schedule to the Principal Act.

Adoption orders not to be declared invalid if declarations not in best interests of children concerned.

5. —(1) An adoption order shall not be declared invalid by a court if the court, after hearing any persons who, in the opinion of the court, ought to be heard, is satisfied—

(a) that it would not be in the best interests of the child concerned to make such a declaration, and

(b) that it would be proper, having regard to those interests and to the rights under the Constitution of all persons concerned, not to make such a declaration.

(2) An adoption order shall be deemed for all purposes to be and at all times since its making to have been a valid adoption order unless it is declared invalid by a court.

Orders by court as to custody of children in certain cases.

6. —(1) If, in any proceedings, an adoption order is declared invalid by a court and the child concerned is in the custody of the person or persons in whose favour the adoption order was made or any other person or persons not being the person or persons who sought the declaration of invalidity, the court shall not then make an order as to the custody of the child unless such an order is sought and the court is satisfied that, by reason of the fact that any person having custody of the child has been joined in the proceedings and by reason of all the other circumstances of the case, it would be in the interests of justice that the question of the custody of the child should be determined then rather than in separate proceedings; but if the court decides, in accordance with this subsection, to determine the question of the custody of the child it shall do so subject to the provisions of section 3 of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964 .

(2) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1) of this section, the person or persons in whose favour an adoption order is made (or any other person or persons having custody of the child who is the subject of the order) shall not be joined or otherwise heard in any proceedings in a court in which the validity of the order is an issue without the consent of the court, and the court, in deciding whether to give such consent, may take into account submissions made to it by the Board or any other interested person relating to the identification at that time of the person or persons concerned or to any other relevant matter.

Construction of references to child in other Acts.

7. —Where, in any Act of the Oireachtas passed after the passing of this Act, there is a reference to a child of a person or persons, then, unless the contrary intention appears—

(a) the reference shall be construed as including a reference to a child adopted by the person or persons, as the case may be, under the Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1976, and

(b) a child so adopted shall be deemed, for the purposes of the Act, to be the child of the person or persons aforesaid born to him or them in lawful wedlock and not to be the child of any other person.

Privacy of records.

8. —A court shall not make an order under section 22 (5) of the Principal Act or an order for the discovery, inspection, production or copying of any book, document or record of the Board (or of any extracts therefrom), or otherwise in relation to the giving or obtaining of information therefrom, unless it is satisfied that it is in the best interests of any child concerned to do so.

Short title, construction and collective citation.

9. —(1) This Act may be cited as the Adoption Act, 1976.

(2) The Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1974, and this Act shall be construed together as one.

(3) The Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1974, and this Act may be cited together as the Adoption Acts, 1952 to 1976.