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Top judges questioned on adoption process

The House of Lords Select Committee on Adoption Legislation will have the opportunity to quiz senior members of the judiciary on the UK's adoption process on Tuesday 27 November.

At 10.15am, the Committee, which is chaired by a former President of the Family Division of the High Court, will hear from:

  • Lord Justice McFarlane, former Family Liaison Judge and now Lord Justice of Appeal, Member of the Family Justice Review;
  • Mr Justice Ryder, author of Judicial proposals for the modernisation of family justice, published in July this year;
  • Her Honour Judge Hindley; and
  • Her Honour Judge Swindells.

The Committee will be questioning the judges on:

  • how the courts strike a balance between the rights of the birth parents and the rights of the child;
  • whether any legal obstacles currently prevent early placement with foster carers who are also approved adopters;
  • if a child's ‘religious persuasion, racial origin, cultural and linguistic background' is significant when courts make decisions about placements and adoptions; and
  • how the 2002 Adoption Act has impacted on birth families and children and the role the court plays in the adoption process.

The Committee will also ask for the judges opinions on how well the Adoption and Children Act 2002 has met its key aims of speeding up the adoption process, including widening the pool of prospective adopters; making the child's welfare paramount during the adoption process; and extending the range of permanence orders to find the best long-term solution for the child.

The evidence session will take place at 10.15am on Wednesday 28 November in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords and will be webcast live at

The evidence session is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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