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Adoption – New Law and Practice, Domestic and Intercountry Adoption

Solicitors in London

News article published on: 13th August 2019

Naomi Angell solicitor and David Vavrecka barrister from Coram Chambers host an evening on Adoption – new law and practice, Domestic and International adoption

Intercountry adoption (ICA) covers all adoptions with a foreign element, where the UK is either the receiving state, or the state of origin and sending state of the child.

Although often regarded as a specialist area of law covering a small number of cases and where practitioners are unlikely to encounter more than a few cases in the course of their career . Also where the ones that you do hear about are high profile cases which appear in the media e.g. Angelina Jolie or Madonna or notorious cases such as the “Internet Twins” case of 2002.

The reality is actually quite different. The cases in fact cover a wide range of situations and a broad spectrum of people, ranging from

  • Childless couple wanting to adopt a young unrelated baby from abroad, maybe China or Russia.
  • Expatriate single woman who wants to adopt a child while living and working abroad and then wants to bring the child back to the UK for recognition of the adoption and to obtain British nationality for the child.
  • Relatives in this country wanting to adopt a child gifted to them by a family member abroad or to adopt an orphaned related child from a foreign country.
  • A child brought here for a visit, maybe for education, medical treatment or a visit and relatives or an unrelated family decide to adopt the child.
  • An English man marries a foreign woman and wants to adopt her child by a previous relationship abroad and for the child to live as a member of the family in this country.
  • A child in care proceedings, where the best placement is a placement with relatives abroad.
  • Family members in this country wanting to gift a child for adoption by childless relatives abroad.

The common factor is the foreign element when the UK can either be the receiving country of the child or the country sending the child abroad where the UK is the child’s country of origin.

It is an area of law relevant to solicitors and barristers advising prospective adopters, and also birth families where the child is to be sent abroad. Also adoption social workers, childrens guardians and local authority legal departments, which are increasingly getting involved in these cases.


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