Impact of adoption on s. 117 claims

09 September 2021


I have been looking at various elements of section 117 claims over the last number of emails. Just a quick one on this. If a couple or parent places a child up for adoption, will it mean the child still has section 117 rights against their natural parents? The answer is no. The adopted child cannot bring a s. 117 action against their natural parents.

Is it because the natural parents are deemed to have satisfied a moral obligation by placing a child up for adoption? Or is it because the child has their needs met by their adopted parents? No. None of these.

It’s due to s. 3(2)(a) of the Status of Children Act 1987. This states:-

(2)(a) An adopted person shall, for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, be deemed from the date of the adoption to be the child of the adopter or adopters and not the child of any other person or persons.

So once adopted, the child is no longer the child of the natural parents. Therefore the natural parents do not have to take into account s. 117 issues in relation to children placed for adoption.