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Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons: Children and Families Bill Amendment Tabled - 19/9/13
BAAF and the Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons (DAP) Group are pleased to announce that Baroness Sally Hamwee of Richmond on Thames has tabled an amendment in the forthcoming House of Lords debate on the Children and Families Bill 2013 in relation to the information needs of descendants of deceased adopted people, to enable them to access intermediary services.
For some years now, BAAF and the Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons (DAP) Group have been campaigning for a change in the law since the Adoption and Children Act 2002 was implemented, to enable descendants of deceased adopted people to have the same rights as other relatives to access an intermediary service in order to obtain the information they need.

Whilst the Adoption Information and Intermediary Services (Pre-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005 allowed an adopted person to apply to an intermediary agency for assistance in contacting a relative and for a birth relative to apply for assistance in contacting an adopted person, this did not include descendants of deceased adopted people. The reason for this is that a relative of an adopted person is defined in s98 of the Adoption & Children Act 2002 as any person who (but for the adoption) would be related to him by blood or marriage. This therefore excludes descendants.

However, some descendants of deceased adopted people have sometimes been able to obtaininformation from adoption agencies. This depends on knowing either the adopted person’s birth name or the agency which facilitated the adoption. If the descendant knows the court where the adoption order was made they can also apply for the court records under the Family Procedure Rules for disclosure of information to enable the descendant to obtain the birth record.

If however this information is not known, the only avenue open to the descendant is an application to the Court under s79(4) of the Act for an order that the Registrar General give the descendant information to enable them to obtain the adopted person’s birth certificate.  The Court may only exercise this power in exceptional circumstances.

We know that many local authorities and organisations are sympathetic and consider that descendants of deceased adopted persons should be able to access an intermediary service so are willing to help all they can, when feasible. This group who are being discriminated against under the current law is relatively small group.  We also know that it is important that the cost of this service is covered and that agencies should be able to charge descendants of adopted people for an intermediary service, as is the case currently for adopted people and birth relatives who seek an intermediary service.

The tabled amendment attempts to address this unfairness and discrimination and means that after clause 6 in the Children and Families Bill, a new clause would be inserted as follows:

New Clause:
(1)    Section 98 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 is amended as follows.
(2)    Omit paragraph (a) of section 98(1) and insert –

“(a) assisting
    (i)    persons adopted before the appointed day
    (ii)   the descendants of persons adopted before the appointed day who have attained the age of 18 to obtain information in relation to the adoption of the adopted person”

Baroness Hamwee’s clause will be debated at the House of Lords Committee Stage of the Bill which we understand is likely to be on 9th October 2013.

We have emailed various organisations to ask for their support to the amendment. We hope that many of them will endorse this proposed amendment to show members of the House of Lords [and also members of the House of Commons] that a range of organisations recognise it is important for descendants of deceased adopted people to be able to access intermediary services.

Please visit the DAP campaign page for further details about the campaign and or contact DAP at

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