For what reasons do other countries allow adoption without consent?

We are grateful for this helpful summary of the position in other EU Member states from Claire Fenton – Glynn. See further her post, We are not alone: Every European country permits adoption without parental consent. 


Abandonment or Lack of Contact with Child

Deprivation of Parental Rights

Dispensing with Consent

  • AUSTRIA Whereabouts or residence unknown (6 months) Refusal of consent without justification
  • BELGIUM Parent has lost interest in the child, deprivation of parental rights; has compromised his or her health, safety or morals
  • BULGARIA Resident in a foster home or institutional care, and parent has not requested the termination or modification of this measure and the return of the child (6 months) Parents continuously fail to provide care for the child, do not provide financial support, or raise and educate the child in a manner harmful to its development.
  • CROATIA Abandoned the child, lost the right to parental care
  • CYPRUS Abandoned or neglected the child, neglect or persistent mistreatment. Unreasonably withholding consent
  • CZECH REPUBLIC Not manifested a proper interest (6 months) Not trying to rectify their family and social condition within the limits of their possibilities so that they can personally care of the child (6 months)
  • DENMARK Deprivation of parental rights If dispensing with consent it is of decisive importance to the welfare of the child
  • ENGLAND AND WALES If dispensing with consent is in the best interests of the child
  • ESTONIA Whereabouts or residence unknown (for “an extended period of time”) Deprivation of parental rights
  • FINLAND If the refusal is not sufficiently justified taking into account the best interests of the child
  • FRANCE Manifest disinterest (12 months) Risk of compromising the child’s health or morals Abusively withholding consent
  • GERMANY Shown through conduct to be indifferent to the child Persistently grossly violating parental duties Where it would be disproportionately disadvantageous to the child if the adoption did not take place
  • GREECE Deprivation of parental rights
  • HUNGARY Not contacting the child (12 months)
  • IRELAND Parents failed in their duty towards the child (12 months)
  • ITALY Abandonment: lacking the moral and material care of their parents
  • LATVIA Treat the child especially badly or does not care of the child or does not ensure the supervision of the child and it may endanger the physical, mental or moral development of the child.
  • LITHUANIA Parental authority restricted for an unlimited period
  • LUXEMBOURG Manifest disinterest (12 months) Lost their parental rights
  • MALTA Unjustifiably not having contact (18 months) Neglect or persistent mistreatment Unreasonably withholding consent
  • NETHERLANDS Have not, or hardly, lived together, abuse of parental authority or grossly neglected duties to care for the child
  • NORTHERN IRELAND Abandoned or neglected the child, persistently failed in duties towards the child, has persistently ill-treated, or seriously ill-treated the child, withholding consent unreasonably
  • POLAND Deprived of parental authority If refusal is clearly contrary to the child’s welfare
  • PORTUGAL Not showing interest (3 months) Deprived of parental authority
  • ROMANIA Abusively refusing to give consent, and adoption is in the child’s best interests
  • SCOTLAND Unable to satisfactorily discharge parental duties
  • SLOVAKIA Systematically did not manifest proper interest (6 months) Deprivation of parental rights
  • SLOVENIA Whereabouts or residence unknown (12 months) Parental rights have been take away
  • SPAIN Deprived of parental authority
  • SWEDEN Where a parent has no share in custody

7 thoughts on “For what reasons do other countries allow adoption without consent?

  1. ian josephs

    Claire ,
    FRANCE Manifest disinterest (12 months) Risk of compromising the child’s health or morals Abusively withholding consent –

    Where for example do you get this for France? No lawyer I have asked seems to have heard of it but that is not to say it is not true if it can be subtantiated in french law.
    I would be interested to get to the bottom of this as it is contrary to what I have hitherto believed

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Ian you are in good company with your lack of knowledge, as you are joined by Barononess Hale, Mostyn J AND the council of Europe.

      I am extremely grateful to Claire Fenton Glynn for shining a light on this. I am sure we can agree on this one thing – if we are going to argue about the future of child protection, we must get our basic facts right wherever we can.

  2. ian josephs

    Alas I still do not know where all this is enshrined in french law and until I do know I cannot blindly accept that it is so;
    FRANCE Manifest disinterest (12 months) Risk of compromising the child’s health or morals Abusively withholding consent –

    The above certainly does not sound the french way of putting things so I remain sceptical ……………

  3. ian josephs

    Here Claire contradicts herself by confirming my opinion that “such adoptions were not possible in France” and that sounds more likely.

    On the other hand, a 2015 report by the Council of Europe, stated that such adoptions are permitted in Andorra, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. However, it maintained that such adoptions were not possible in France, Greece, Luxembourg and Spain – See more at:

  4. angelo granda

    There seems to be a never-ending argument about what is and is not allowed in other countries.Where will it get us? That is largely irrelevant to us. It is British standards which count; our country is the mother of democracy and our laws should set the values used across the world.The basis of English Law is followed worldwide.We have to set the trends; it is expected of us!

    I fear that when the Child Protection Authorities ignore statutory procedures and duties and the Family court allows it to happen then they have effectively declared U.D.I. and will have carte-blanch to do exactly what they want.Even though we are subject to ECHR law technically , it will be easier for them to ignore that court’s orders than it is ours.

    I also have not so nonsensical concerns that the lax evidential standards are oozing across into other court arenas.(Google-Achieving best evidence on video) It must be a worry now that private companies have a financial interest in keeping up the prison population and when they profit from tagging systems. Money makes the world go round!

  5. Pingback: The woeful state of our debate Part VI: 8 questions to ask family judges. | Child Protection Resource

  6. Sabine Kurjo McNeill

    Allow me to draw your attention to the Council of Europe report by Russian Parliamentarian Olga Borzova about Social Services in Europe.

    I met Claire Fenton-Glynn in Brussels and put her in touch with John Hemming MP. She claimed that she knew this report, but doesn’t cite it.

    John Hemming sent her 9 emails of a critique that all members of the Petitions Committee received in the context of our petition to Abolish Adoptions without Consent.


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