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Partner Hetty Gleave writes for Family Law

  • December 14, 2015
  • By Hunters Law

Adopting a child from overseas: is it allowed under Sharia law?

It is not uncommon for people wishing to adopt a child to look beyond the shores of the UK to a foreign jurisdiction. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 sets out the English court’s jurisdiction to make adoption orders in respect of children with both British and foreign citizenship, but although the procedure for adoptions within the UK is clear, what is the position in the overseas country?

Following the fall of the Ceausescu regime in the 1990s hundreds of well-meaning couples travelled to Romania and scooped up malnourished children from Romanian ‘orphanages’ to bring them to the UK for a better life. However in some instances they discovered that the children were not in fact orphans, that proper procedures in Romania had not been followed and, crucially, consent from the child’s family, who with diligent inquiry could have been traced, had not been obtained. Some cases resulted in the English Courts having to make the heart-breaking decision of whether to send the children back to their country of origin and their biological families who were requesting their return.

The effect of an adoption order in this country is to sever all the child’s legal links with its biological parents, including the right of the child to inherit, so that the adoptive parents step in the shoes of, and effectively become, the child’s parents. It is as if, in law, their biological parents no longer exist. In England and Wales Courts can still sever legal links between a parent and a child by granting an adoption order despite both parents’ objection if the child’s welfare requires it.

Read the full article published in Family Law here.

Hetty Gleave

Partner, Family Law Department

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