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Part II - General Scheme of Adoption (amendment) Bill 2012


Grey Area

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42A 3. Provision shall be made by law for the voluntary placement for adoption and the adoption of any child. The proposed change to the Constitution | Referendum 2012
It passed so Part II - The proposed adoption legislation

GENERAL SCHEME OF ADOPTION (AMENDMENT) BILL 2012

1 - Secrecy

This Bill proposes to provide the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) and the High Court (to a lesser extent) roles in administering these new powers. The High Court administers justice in public save for some restrictions (the Courts Act, 1961 & Rape Act,1990) in such cases rulings are subject to a strict prohibition on the publication of any material that could lead to the identification of the parties or children involved.

The Adoption Authority (AAI) is a quasi judicial (powers resembling those of a court of law) independent state body which operates exclusively behind closed doors. Hearing of applications Section 16 (3), "The Board may hear the application wholly or partly in private" Adoption Act, 1952 In practice the AAI operates the "wholly" in private provision.

Journalists will be free to report on family cases

"JOURNALISTS WILL be allowed to report on family law and child care cases when the in-camera rule is amended by new legislation, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has confirmed." Friday, November 2, 2012

“The legislation will amend the in-camera rule to allow press access to the courts in family law and childcare proceedings,” Mr Shatter said. He stressed this would be subject to a strict prohibition on the publication of any material that could lead to the identification of the parties or children involved."

“However, the application of the in-camera rule has meant that family cases including childcare cases are not generally reported and the public, and even practitioners may not be aware of how the law, particularly in relation to children, is being operated and applied in the different courts, before which such issues are heard.” Minister for Justice Alan Shatter
So the Minister for Justice is of opinion that it is appropriate and necessary for legal reporting of proceedings in the family courts and childcare proceedings to commence then surely the same logic should include the AAI? The Minister may include the AAI but a recent call to his Dept. by this poster was advised that due to the AAI's quasi judicial status (not a court of law) that it was not intended to include it in the proposed reforms.

Is this justifiable?

Former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness said she thought courts would “perhaps behave more carefully” when members of the press were present than if they were not present. “I think that’s important however insulting that may be to both my . . . former colleagues and present judges.”
I have a few more queries on this legislation but I feel the above is enough to get the ball rolling.

So any opines?
 
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Grey Area

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Half Nelson

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Allowing journalists to report on family law cases is to be welcomed but we'll have to wait and see how this is worked in practise. Hopefully the voters will be able to see how the latest constitutional amendments are applied.
 

Grey Area

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Allowing journalists to report on family law cases is to be welcomed but we'll have to wait and see how this is worked in practise. Hopefully the voters will be able to see how the latest constitutional amendments are applied.
Agreed. Do you think the AAI should continue to operate in secret?
 

Half Nelson

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Agreed. Do you think the AAI should continue to operate in secret?
Privacy is essential to the adoption process but it won't serve anybody, least of all children, to have a culture of secrecy, esp. now that forcible adoptions are a possibility. Any law that depends on censorship and darkened rooms for its implementation is a bad law.
It's easily possible to have privacy without secrecy and if anybody argues otherwise then we should look for ulterior motives.
 

Grey Area

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A very rare insight into the Adoption Authority (then named Adoption Board) leaves alot to be desired. In the Baby Ann Case the natural mother withdrew her consent to the adoption during the cooling-off period. The Adoption Board stalled her and the natural father in order to try to prevent them from regaining custody.

Natural parents of Baby Ann spied upon - National News - Independent.ie

Judge Hardiman:

criticised the Adoption Board for delaying the proceedings.

"One of the most disturbing features of this case is the time which has elapsed since the mother requested the return of her child. At that time, she had been with the proposed adopters for 10 months and was about 14 months old. She has now been in their care for 24 months and is about two years and four months old. Clearly this passage of time will make her reintroduction to her parents more difficult: that, indeed, was one of the principal arguments deployed by the respondents."

He added: "The [natural] parents felt that after they attempted to regain custody of the child, they were being 'stalled', to use a word the mother used in dealing with the Adoption Board. I cannot disagree with her."

Full Judgement of Baby Ann Case

So the culture of secrecy did not serve Baby Ann's bests interests by stalling thus exacerbating the situation.
 

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