The Adoption and Children Bill - A Fast Track to Failure?

26 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2012

Date Written: 2001


On 15 March 2001 the Secretary of State for Health, Mr Alan Milburn, presented a new Adoption and Children Bill to Parliament (the March 2001 Bill). At the time of writing, the Bill marks the latest development in what is becoming an exceptionally long and increasingly tortuous road towards the overhaul of adoption law in the UK. The Government's journey along this road began over 10 years ago when the then Conservative Government carried out a comprehensive review of the current law on adoption as part of its rolling programme of family law reform. A number of important research and consultation documents were published, which culminated in 1996 in a draft Adoption Bill (the 1996 Bill). Because of the Conservative Government's defeat in the 1997 General Election, the Bill was never presented to Parliament and, as adoption reform did not appear to be a priority concern of the new Labour administration, it seemed that the 1996 Bill was to be consigned to gather dust in Whitehall. The political climate was dramatically changed, however, by the Waterhouse Report into child abuse in care homes in North Wales.

Keywords: child law, family law, Adoption and Children Bill 2001, adoption law

Suggested Citation

Harris-Short, Sonia, The Adoption and Children Bill - A Fast Track to Failure? (2001). Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 405-430, 2001, Available at SSRN:

Sonia Harris-Short (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham

Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom

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