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19 DEC 2012

ADOPTION: Re R (Recognition of Indian Adoption) [2012] EWHC 2956 (Fam)

(Family Division, Hedley J, 24 October 2012)

The 4-year-old child was adopted in India. The adoptive parents, who lived in the UK, sought recognition of the adoption in the UK. While India had ratified the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter County Adoptions 1993 the current practice of the Indian Central Authority was to exclude private placement from the scope of Convention adoptions.

The child, who had been born within the couple's extended family network, had been placed with the couple in India when his parents were unable to care for him. A Hindu religious ceremony took place and a deed of adoption was approved by the local court. The couple then applied for recognition of the adoption order under Indian statutory authority which was granted following a meticulous investigation by the court. Recognition was now sought from the English court.

The adoption would be recognised in the UK due to the father's domicile in India and because the Indian adoption was sufficiently similar to the concept of adoption in this jurisdiction. There were no public policy objections and the welfare of the child would be promoted by recognition.

It was likely to be the case that for so long as kinship placement cases were not dealt with in India as Convention adoptions, the procedure followed (and approved) here was likely to apply to other such cases.

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