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Rollingsons Helps Applicants Successfully Seek Recognition of a Non-Hague Adoption in England & Wales

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Rollingsons is proud to have successfully helped applicants seeking to have their non-Hague adoption recognised within the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The High Court case of Re J (A Child) [2012] EWHC 3353 (Fam) required the judge to consider the validity of a foreign adoption order granted in India under the court’s inherent jurisdiction. Indian adoption orders are not automatically recognised in England and Wales under the Hague Convention.

The court’s decision to declare the validity of the order was based on various considerations, some established by previous case law and others unique to the circumstances.

In Focus: Lawful Adoption Orders

In coming to a conclusion in this case the court focused on a number of specific factors. These included whether the adoption order was obtained lawfully in the foreign jurisdiction, whether the concept of adoption within the foreign jurisdiction conformed to the English concept of adoption and if so, if there were any public policy considerations that should militate against recognition of the order.

The court was satisfied on these tests that the adoption order be declared valid and be recognised. Moreover, in accordance with existing legislation, the judge considered the child’s welfare to be of the utmost importance and that it was in the child’s best interest to remain with the adoptive parents.

Case Background

The adoptive parents originally domiciled in India, were granted an adoption order for their niece which was valid under Indian law. The order conformed to the necessary Indian legal requirements and was consented to by both the adoptive parents and the child’s biological parents.

After the parents moved to England, the High Court was required to determine the validity of the adoption order granted outside the jurisdiction. This was necessary in order for the adoption to be legally recognised and provide both the adoptive parents and the child with the same rights and protection that an adoption order granted under English Law would offer.

The Approach of the High Court in Re J (A Child)

Having assumed responsibility for the child, the High Court ordered various reports into the child’s wellbeing including a safeguarding assessment which was very positive. It indicated that the applicants were able to meet the child’s overall needs, that the child was healthy and developing well, that she was provided with appropriate stimulation, that the family was very caring and loving, and that the child was contented.

The judge also confirmed that, in line with established case law, the adoptive parents must have been domiciled in India at the time of the adoption order in order for the English court to recognise its validity.


Concluding, the judge declared that the adoption order was obtained lawfully and that the applicant’s had been domiciled in India at the time of the adoption. Although the concept of adoption in India was not entirely the same as in England and Wales, there were significant similarities and the court did not consider there was anything mitigating against recognising the order. The judge was also satisfied that the adoption would promote the child’s welfare throughout her life and saw fit to declare recognition of the adoption in England. The judge also confirmed that the role of CAFCASS in these types of cases would be only as advocates to the court rather than any investigative role which should be undertaken by the applicants Local Authority.  

The applicants were represented by Jeetesh Patel. Jeetesh Patel leads the firms work on International Adoption. If you would like to discuss the implications of this case or you believe you are in similar circumstances as the applicants in the case then please contact Jeetesh Patel via e- mail on or by telephone on 0207 611 4848.

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