8 Cases where consent may be dispensed with

(1)

The court may dispense with the consent of any parent or guardian to the adoption of a child in any of the following circumstances:

(a)

if the court is satisfied that the parent or guardian has abandoned, neglected, persistently failed to maintain, or persistently ill-treated the child, or failed to exercise the normal duty and care of parenthood in respect of the child; and that reasonable notice of the application for an adoption order has been given to the parent or guardian where the parent or guardian can be found:

(b)

if the court is satisfied that the parent or guardian is unfit, by reason of any physical or mental incapacity, to have the care and control of the child; that the unfitness is likely to continue indefinitely; and that reasonable notice of the application for an adoption order has been given to the parent or guardian:

(c)

if a licence has been granted in respect of the child under section 40 of the Adoption Act 1950 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, or under the corresponding provisions of any former or subsequent Act of that Parliament, or under the corresponding provisions of any Act of the Parliament of any Commonwealth country.

(2)

The court may dispense with the consent of any parent or guardian as aforesaid notwithstanding that the parent or guardian may have made suitable initial arrangements for the child by placing the child under the care of the authorities of a children’s home, the chief executive, or some other person.

(3)

On application by any person having the care of a child, the court may dispense with the consent of a parent or guardian of a child under this section before any application is made for an adoption order in respect of the child; and any order so made shall lapse after the expiration of 6 months from the date on which it is made for all purposes except an application made to the court within that period for an adoption order in respect of the child.

(4)

The court may dispense with the consent of the spouse of an applicant for an adoption order if it is satisfied that the spouses are living apart and that their separation is likely to be permanent.

(5)

In any case where a mentally disordered person is a parent or guardian of a child in respect of whom an application for an adoption order has been made, service of notice of the application on the manager or administrator of the estate of the parent or guardian, or on the person with whom the parent or guardian resides or under whose care he is, shall (unless the court otherwise orders) be sufficient service thereof for the purposes of this section.

(5A)

In any case where the District Court has refused to make an order dispensing with the consent of any parent or guardian or spouse, the person or persons who sought the dispensation may, within 1 month after the date of the refusal, appeal to the High Court against the refusal; and the High Court may dispense with the consent if it thinks fit.

(6)

Any person whose consent is dispensed with under this section may, on notice to every applicant for an adoption order in respect of the child and within 1 month after the making of the order dispensing with consent, make application for the revocation of that order and of any consequential interim order to the High Court; and the court to which the application is so made may in its discretion revoke any such order.

(7)

In any case where the court has made an adoption order within 1 month after making the order dispensing with consent, any person whose consent is dispensed with under this section may, on notice to every adoptive parent and within 1 month after the making of the order dispensing with consent, make application for the revocation of that order and the discharge of the adoption order to the High Court; and the court to which the application is so made may in its discretion discharge any such order. All the provisions of section 20, so far as they are applicable and with the necessary modifications, shall apply in connection with any such discharge of an adoption order.

(8)

In any case where the High Court revokes any interim order or discharges any adoption order in accordance with this section, that court may include in its order an order for the refund by some person specified in the order of money spent by any adopter or proposed adopter for the child’s benefit. Any such order for the refund of money shall be enforceable as a judgment of the court which made the order in favour of the person to whom the money has to be repaid.

Compare: 1908 No 86 s 23; 1941 No 26 s 36; 1951 No 81 s 15; Adoption Act 1950 s 3 (UK).

Section 8(2): amended, on 1 October 1999, by section 13 of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services Act 1999 (1999 No 82).

Section 8(5): amended, on 1 April 1970, pursuant to section 129(4) of the Mental Health Act 1969 (1969 No 16).

Section 8(5): amended, on 1 April 1970, pursuant to section 129(7) of the Mental Health Act 1969 (1969 No 16).

Section 8(5A): inserted, on 24 September 1965, by section 3 of the Adoption Amendment Act 1965 (1965 No 32).

Section 8(5A): amended, on 1 March 2017, by section 261 of the District Court Act 2016 (2016 No 49).

Section 8(5A): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124).

Section 8(6): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124).

Section 8(6): amended, on 1 April 1963, by section 4(1) of the Adoption Amendment Act 1962 (1962 No 134).

Section 8(7): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124).

Section 8(7): amended, on 1 April 1963, by section 4(2) of the Adoption Amendment Act 1962 (1962 No 134).

Section 8(8): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 12 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 124).

Section 8(8): amended, on 1 April 1963, by section 4(3) of the Adoption Amendment Act 1962 (1962 No 134).