Re H (Adoption: Disclosure of Information ): 1995

An application was made by the sister of an adopted child for disclosure of the records held in order to allow her to make contact and to warn her of the fact that she might have an inherited genetic disease.
Held: The jurisdiction to grant such an order ‘should be exercised very sparingly and only in exceptional circumstances.’ and ‘Mr Blake, for the Registrar General, contends that as a matter of public policy the discretion should be exercised very sparingly and only in exceptional circumstances. He prays in aid of his submission the decision of His Honour Judge Blagden almost 40 years ago and the cautious language with which Judge Blagden acceded to the application in circumstances which were clearly exceptional.
Mr McFarlane, for NORCAP [the agency seeking the order], submits that had Parliament intended that the discretion should only be exercised very sparingly, and in exceptional circumstances, it would surely have so stated. In the absence of any statutory words Mr McFarlane submits that the burden upon the applicant should be no heavier than the ordinary burden to show cause by establishing a case of sufficient weight and justification so as to persuade the judge of the reasonableness of the order sought.
Of the rival submissions I prefer that of Mr McFarlane. Since Judge Blagden considered the parallel section in an earlier statute, attitudes to adoption, its consequences, and the importance of the biological origin and the psychological attachments have changed profoundly.’


Thorpe J


[1995] 1 FLR 236


Adoption Act 1976 50(5)


England and Wales


CitedLawson v Registrar General 1956
An application was made for disclosure by the Registrar of his records so that an adopted child could be contacted and informed of a significant legacy to which she would be entitled.
Held: Disclosure of such records was severely restricted, . .

Cited by:

CitedIn Re L (a Minor) (Adoption: Disclosure of Information) CA 12-Dec-1996
A request was made for an order that the Registrar General should provide information from his registers and records to enable a registered charity called the Post Adoption Centre to trace the applicant’s adopted daughter P, who had been made the . .
CitedX (Adopted Child: Access To Court File) FC 9-Sep-2014
The applicant’s father had been adopted. Both he and the adopting parents had since died. The applicant now sought disclosure of the records to reveal her the court record of her father’s adoption order.
Held: The order should be made. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Adoption, Information

Updated: 02 February 2022; Ref: scu.230136