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Family Law

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02 APR 2013

Conflicting rights: English adoption law and the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [2013] CFLQ 40

Keywords: Adoption - UNCRC - birth parents - welfare

The welfare of the relevant child became the 'paramount' consideration in adoption decisions as a result of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. This ostensibly brought English law into line with Article 21 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (UNCRC), which requires states inter alia to 'ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration' in the context of adoption. This article considers the scheme of the 2002 Act and conducts a survey of the domestic adoption case-law under it in the light of some of the requirements of the UNCRC, with particular reference to the implications of the Act for the child's relationship with his or her birth family. It argues that the judiciary's approach to the Act is not necessarily compatible with certain provisions of the Convention, but that in any event the Convention suffers from internal inconsistency in this context that reduces its normative force.

The full version of this article appears in issue 1 of 2013 of Child and Family Law Quarterly.



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