Adopted adults to be able to trace family tree

The Government plans to introduce new rules by November 2014 to enable those adopted as children, and the children, grandchildren and other relatives of those adopted, to trace their family history. 

As the law currently stands, only the person adopted and their birth relatives are able to use specialist adoption agencies to try and make contact with their biological family. 

The new rules will encourage greater openness in adoption, allowing all relatives of adopted adults to trace their family history whilst ensuring adopted people have the right to a private, family life. 

These new rules follow in the footsteps of the recent case of X (Adopted Child: Access to Court File)[2014] EWFC33 who has been adopted in 1930. The case involved an application to the court by the daughter who wanted to find out more about her family history, who her maternal grandmother had been and what part of the family she had come from. After a detailed analysis of some complicated existing law, the Judge decided that X daughter should have access to the Court file, that her motives in doing so were entirely genuine and that in all probability X birth mother, the maternal grandmother in question who was to be the subject of the trace, would be dead given that the adoption took place 84 years ago. 

The Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson announced on 25th September 2014: "It's right that descendants and other relatives of adopted adults are able to access important information, such as medical records or genetic health conditions, which could impact upon how they live their life today. They should also be able to find out about important events from their past, as well as make contact with family members if they wish." 

The Government announcement is just part of their overall plan to simplify and extend support for adopted families, having earlier announced a 19.3 million fund set aside to help adopted children and their families to access support services, education and benefits. 

Emsleys family team includes solicitors who are experts in the field of private children law and family mediation. If you need any help and advice about a children matter or family mediation,lease contact us on 0113 201 4900. 

Gabbie  Clasper

Written by

Gabbie Clasper

Head of Family Law

Gabbie has over 20 years’ experience in family law. She has expert knowledge in complex issues including financial aspects following divorce; pre and post-nuptial agreements; cases with an international element; and civil partnerships. Gabbie is regularly instructed by clients based across the country and abroad. She...

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