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(b) to give the agency any information it may require for the purpose of the assessment.


(5) Regulations may require prescribed conditions to be met in respect of a child brought into the United Kingdom in circumstances where this section applies.


(6) In relation to a child brought into the United Kingdom for adoption in circumstances where this section applies, regulations may, in respect of a case where any requirements imposed by the regulations are not complied with, modify the reference to 13 weeks in section 13(1).


(7) If a person brings, or causes another to bring, a child into the United Kingdom at any time in circumstances where this section applies, he is guilty of an offence if—


(a) he has not complied with any requirement imposed by virtue of subsection (4), or


(b) any condition required to be met by virtue of subsection (5) is not met,


before that time, or before any later time which may be prescribed.


(8) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—


(a) on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both,


(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or a fine, or both.


(9) In this section, "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations and "regulations" means regulations made by the Secretary of State, after consultation with the National Assembly for Wales".


7B (1) In section 58 of the Adoption Act 1976 (restrictions on advertisements)—


(a) after subsection (1) there is inserted—


"(1A) Publishing an advertisement includes doing so by electronic means (for example, by means of the internet).",


(b) in subsection (2), for the words following "conviction" there is substituted "to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both".


7C In section 52 of the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 (restriction on advertisements)—


(a) after subsection (1) there is inserted—


"(1A) Publishing an advertisement includes doing so by electronic means (for example, by means of the internet).",


(b) in subsection (2), for the words following "conviction" there is substituted "to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both".'

No. 318, in page 98, line 20, at end insert—


20 May 2002 : Column 89

20 May 2002 : Column 90

20 May 2002 : Column 91

Jacqui Smith: I beg to move amendment No. 227, in page 74, line 49, leave out subsection (2).

This amendment covers the definition of where a child has his home or is placed and responds to a point raised in Committee by the hon. Member for North Dorset (Mr. Walter), which I undertook at the time to consider.

Clause 131 sets out the correct interpretation of various terms used in the Bill. Currently, subsection (2) provides that, in determining where a child has his home or is to be placed, any temporary absence by the child at school, hospital or elsewhere is to be disregarded. The hon. Member for North Dorset was keen to ensure that the courts could also discount temporary absences by the adoptive applicants in determining where a child has his home or is placed. We have looked at this matter, and we agree that it is important to provide the flexibility sought by the hon. Gentleman, to ensure that temporary absences by other parties, such as the adoptive applicants, could be excepted where appropriate.

The advice that we have received is that the most flexible way of doing that would be to remove subsection (2) entirely, which would leave the question of where a child had his home and with whom as an issue of fact to be determined by the court in each case. Advice to me suggests that the current subsection (2), which dates from the Adoption Act 1976, is unnecessary and might indeed have a restrictive effect on references to a place where a child has his home that are not covered by the exceptions listed. That would also be a risk with any amendment that attempted to exclude temporary absences by the adopters on the same basis.

The case law on "had his home" has it that this is a matter of fact to be determined in each case. It presumes regular occupation with some degree of permanency, but does not require continuous presence. It allows the court to take account of, and disregard when appropriate, any temporary absence for whatever reason by the child or any other party, but also enables the court to consider, rightly, the impact of any very lengthy absence. Government amendment No. 227 therefore seeks to deliver the same objective as the amendments tabled by the hon. Gentleman in Committee, but in a more effective manner.

On that basis, I hope that the House will feel able to support the amendment.


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