There are new calls to update adoption law in New Zealand.  The Adoption Act which governs adoption law has been in force since 1955.  The Human Rights Commission is now leading the charge on making changes to this law to make it more relevant to modern society.

The Human Rights Review Tribunal has outlined several reasons why the current adoption laws are inconsistent with the Bill of Rights.  These include:

(a)  Under the current law, sole males applying to adopt need to satisfy special circumstances before being permitted to adopt a female child.  There is no such requirement for a single female to prove the same special circumstances;

(b)  The Court can currently dispense with the consent of birth fathers when making an Adoption Order, but does not dispense with the consent of  birth mothers;

(c)  The current inability for civil union partners or same sex de-facto couples to adopt;

(d)  The Court currently does not require the consent of a disabled parent or guardian before his or her child is adopted;

(e)  Currently no person under the age of 25 can apply to adopt a child; and

(f)   In relation to information sharing, an adopted person under the age of 20 is not allowed to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate.

We will keep an eye on further developments and keep you informed with updates on this reform.

Shaun Cousins
Family Lawyer