Reservations and Declarations for Treaty No.058 - European Convention on the Adoption of Children

Nature of declaration : Declarations, Denunciations, Derogations
Status as of 18/07/2019

Norway

Declaration annexed to the instrument of ratification, deposited on 13 January 1972 - Engl. only

Implementation of the European Convention on Adoption of Children in Norwegian law:

A Survey

PART II

Essential provisions

Article 4

In accordance with paragraph 1 of the Act of 2 April 1917 No 1 relating to adoption (hereinafter called the Adoption Act), the authority to grant an adoption is vested in the King. By a royal decree, dated 13 July 1933, this authority was delegated to the chief administrative officer of a country, the County Governor (fylkesmannen).

Article 5

In paragraph 6 of the Adoption Act it is provided that a person under the age of 20 years may not, as a general rule, be adopted without the consent of his (her) parents. If one of the parents is dead or missing, or is insane or mentally deficient, or has no share in the parental rights in respect of the child, the consent of the other parent is sufficient. If both parents are subject to any of the disabilities mentioned, the consent of the child's legal guardian is required. However, a parent who is deprived of his or her parental rights in respect of the child, shall nevertheless, as far as possible, be given an opportunity to express his (her) opinion before the decision is taken.

The Adoption Act has no provision directly corresponding to Article 5 paragraph 4. In practice, however, the rule is that a mother's consent to the adoption of her child is only accepted when it has been given at such a time after the birth that there is reason to believe that she has had sufficient time to consider carefully the question of adoption. As a rule, therefore, more than 6 weeks are allowed to elapse before her consent is obtained. With a view to ratification of the Convention, the County Governors (fylkesmennene) have been instructed not to grant an adoption unless the consent of the mother has been given more than 6 weeks after the child's birth.

Article 6

This Article corresponds to paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Adoption Act. In accordance with these provisions, a married person may only adopt a child jointly with the spouse, unless the latter is insane or mentally retarded or is missing. A spouse may, however, with the consent of the other spouse adopt the latter's child or adopted child. Two persons who are not married to each other cannot adopt a child jointly. Neither is it possible to re-adopt an adopted child, provided the adopter is alive (and the adoption has not been annulled nor revocated) for anyone else than the spouse of the adopter.

Article 7

In accordance with paragraph 1 of the Adoption Act an adopter must have attained the age of 25 years. This age-requirement cannot be waived.

Article 8

According to paragraph 8 of the Adoption Act an adoption must not be granted unless there is reason to believe that the adoption will be to the child's benefit, and it is either desired that the child be brought up by the adopter, or the child has been brought up by the adopter or his (her) spouse, or there are other special reasons in favour of the adoption. Only exceptionally will an adoption be granted if the difference in age between the adopter and the child is less than the normal difference in age between parents and their children. This may, however, be the case when a stepchild is being adopted, but this type of adoption is also subject to careful examinations.

Article 9

If an adoption is arranged through a public placement bureau, the enquiries mentioned in paragraph 2 of this Article are made by the bureau. Several of the public placement bureaux are headed by the child welfare secretary attached to the office of the County Governor (see below).

No adoption is granted before the local child welfare committee, established in accordance with the Child Welfare Act of 17 July 1953 No 14, has given its opinion on the petition.

In the office of the County Governor (fylkesmannen) petitions for adoption are handled by a person with special knowledge of child welfare matters, preferably the child welfare secretary, provided he did not take part in the work of the public placement bureau. The person handling a petition may, if necessary, make a more detailed enquiry into the matters mentioned in Article 9.

According to paragraph 5 of the Adoption Act a child who has reached the age of 12 years may not, as a rule, be adopted unless he has given his consent to the adoption. If he has reached the age of 16 years, his consent to the adoption must always be obtained.

In a Circular Letter to the County Governors (fylkesmennene), their attention has been drawn to, inter alia, Article 9 of the Convention and the importance of comprehensive social enquiries before an adoption is granted has been stressed.

Article 10

The provisions of paragraphs 1 - 3 are implemented by paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 of the Adoption Act, cf. paragraph 3 of the Act of 29 May 1964 No. 1 on Personal Names. There are no provisions in Norwegian law corresponding to paragraph 2 section 2 and paragraph 4 of Article 10.

Paragraph 5 of this Article is implemented by paragraph 14 of the Adoption Act, giving an adopted child or his off-spring the same right of inheritance as a natural child of the adopter. An adopted child or his off-spring is inherited in a corresponding manner.

A limited exception to this rule is, however, found in paragraph 17 of the Adoption Act whereby the so-called Asetesrett (primogenitur), i.e. the right to acquire the family farm at a favourable rate, devolves upon the adopted child and its off-spring subsequently to the adopter's natural children and their off-spring. In this connection reference is made to paragraph 44 of the Explanatory Report on the Convention and what is said there about the possibility of making a certain differentiation between a child born in lawful wedlock and an adopted child as regards inheritance of land.

Article 11

The Act of 8 December 1950 No 3 on Norwegian citizenship is practiced in accordance with Article 11 of the Convention with regard to adopted children.

Article 12

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article are in accordance with the law now in force and its practice. As regards paragraph 3, Norway made a reservation at the time of signature due to the provision in paragraph 17 subsection 4 of the Adoption Act, cf. paragraph 1 subsectioin 2 of the Act. This reservation will be renewed when the Convention is ratified.

Article 13

Provisions dealing with revocation (termination) of an adoption are found in paragraphs 21-25 of the Adoption Act.

An adoption relationship may be terminated by the Ministry of Justice on petition from the adopter and the adopted child, provided the adopted child is not under age, cf. paragraph 21 subsection 1 of the Adoption Act. If the adopter is dead the adoption may, according to subsection 2 of paragraph 21, be terminated by the same authority, if this is found to be in the child's interest, and either the adopted child (or its guardian), or its natural parents or one of them makes a petition to this effect.

With the exceptions mentioned above an adoption can only be terminated by judgment and only if one of the following grounds is present:

1. If the adopter is guilty of gross offence against the adopted child, or of gross negligence of his duties to it, or if termination is found necessary considering the child's own interests (paragraph 22).

2. If the adopted child is guilty of gross offence against the adopter or his relatives, or if the adopted child's bad conduct makes the continuation of the adoption relationship manifestly unreasonable (paragraph 23 subsection 2).

3. If it is found that the adopted child is mentally deficient or insane or suffering from some other serious physical or mental defect or some malignant and protracted disease considered to have been contracted before the adoption and of which the adopter then had no knowledge. An action to terminate the adoption must, however, be brought within 5 years of the adoption (paragraph 23 subsection 1).

Article 14

Reference is made to the information given below in connection with Article 26.

Article 15

According to paragraph 9 of the Adoption Act information must be acquired before an adoption is granted as to whether any reward has been or will be paid by any of the parties, and if this is the case how much. If a reward has been or will be paid to the adopter the granting of the adoption may be made conditional upon a guarantee that the reward shall wholly or in part be used for the benefit of the adopted child. It is hence possible to prevent improper financial advantage arising from a child being given up for adoption.

In this connection it should also be mentioned that a provision in paragraph 26 of the Child Welfare Act of 17 July 1953 No 14 makes it unlawful for private persons to engage in child placement activities irrespective of whether the children are placed for adoption. A contravention of this provision is punishable. Organisations are likewise prohibited from engaging in such activities unless they have been granted permission by the Ministry of Social Affairs, which in such event will supervise the said activities.

Part III

Supplementary provisions

Article 17

There is no provision in the Adoption Act providing that a child must have been in the care of the adopter for a certain period before the adoption is granted.

When an adoption is prepared by a public placement bureau the child, as a general rule, is placed in a suitable institution under observation for at least two months. This is, however, not the case when the child prior to the adoption has been placed in the home of the adopter as a foster child. The time a child will be in the care of the adopter after the period of observation mentioned above before the adoption is granted varies rather considerably.

Article 18

According to paragraph 26 subsection (b) of the Child Welfare Act of 17 July 1953 No 14 it is unlawful for private persons to engage in child placement activities in Norway, and organisations may only engage in such activities if they have been granted permission by the Ministry of Social Affairs. At present there are 8 public placement bureaux in Norway, and work is in progress for the establishment of at least one bureau in each county (fylke). Plans for the establishment and the activities of a bureau must be approved by the Ministry of Social Affairs. It has been made a condition for such approval that the activities are to be supervised by an expert council.

Article 19

Instruction in the social and legal aspects of adoption is given in all schools that train social workers. In the last plan of instruction, which was recently sent the Ministry of Church and Education for approval, and which will be applicable to all Schools on Social Affairs, the part of the curriculum dealing with questions of adoption has been expanded.

Article 20

There is no provision in the Adoption Act prohibiting an adoption to be completed without disclosing to the child's family the identity of the adopter (and vice versa). Such anonymous adoptions are the rule in Norway.

Petitions for adoption are in Norway administrative matters (cf. what has been said in connection with Article 4 above). The public is not given access to such matters, and the civil servants who handle adoption-matters are under a duty of secrecy.

The rule of paragraph 3 has been practiced in Norway since 1960.

The requirements of paragraph 4 have been observed in Norway for a long period.
Period covered: 14/04/1972 -
Articles concerned : 1


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