The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between
its members for the purpose, among others, of facilitating their social progress;
Considering that, although the institution of the adoption of children exists in all
member countries of the Council of Europe, there are in those countries differing views as
to the principles which should govern adoption and differences in the procedure for
effecting, and the legal consequences of, adoption; and
Considering that the acceptance of common principles and practices with respect to the
adoption of children would help to reduce the difficulties caused by those differences and
at the same time promote the welfare of children who are adopted,
Have agreed as follows:
Part I Undertakings and field of application
Each Contracting Party undertakes to ensure the conformity of its law with the
provisions of Part II of this Convention and to notify the Secretary General of the
Council of Europe of the measures taken for that purpose.
Each Contracting Party undertakes to give consideration to the provisions set out in
Part III of this Convention, and if it gives effect, or if, having given effect, it ceases
to give effect to any of these provisions, it shall notify the Secretary General of the
Council of Europe.
This Convention applies only to legal adoption of a child who, at the time when the
adopter applies to adopt him, has not attained the age of 18, is not and has not been
married, and is not deemed in law to have come of age.
Part II Essential provisions
An adoption shall be valid only if it is granted by a judicial or administrative
authority (hereinafter referred to as the "competent authority").
- Subject to paragraphs 2 to 4 of this article, an adoption shall not be granted unless at
least the following consents to the adoption have been given and not withdrawn:
- the consent of the mother and, where the child is legitimate, the father; or if there is
neither father nor mother to consent, the consent of any person or body who may be
entitled in their place to exercise their parental rights in that respect;
- the consent of the spouse of the adopter.
- The competent authority shall not:
- dispense with the consent of any person mentioned in paragraph 1 of this article, or
- overrule the refusal to consent of any person or body mentioned in the said paragraph 1,
save on exceptional grounds determined by law.
- If the father or mother is deprived of his or her parental rights in respect of the
child, or at least of the right to consent to an adoption, the law may provide that it
shall not be necessary to obtain his or her consent.
- A mother's consent to the adoption of her child shall not be accepted unless it is given
at such time after the birth of the child, not being less than six weeks, as may be
prescribed by law, or, if no such time has been prescribed, at such time as, in the
opinion of the competent authority, will have enabled her to recover sufficiently from the
effects of giving birth to the child.
- For the purposes of this article "father" and "mother" mean the
persons who are according to law the parents of the child.
- The law shall not permit a child to be adopted except by either two persons married to
each other, whether they adopt simultaneously or successively, or by one person.
- The law shall not permit a child to be again adopted save in one or more of the
- where the child is adopted by the spouse of the adopter;
- where the former adopter has died;
- where the former adoption has been annulled;
- where the former adoption has come to an end.
- A child may be adopted only if the adopter has attained the minimum age prescribed for
the purpose, this age being neither less than 21 nor more than 35 years.
- The law may, however, permit the requirement as to the minimum age to be waived:
- when the adopter is the child's father or mother, or
- by reason of exceptional circumstances.
- The competent authority shall not grant an adoption unless it is satisfied that the
adoption will be in the interest of the child.
- In each case the competent authority shall pay particular attention to the importance of
the adoption providing the child with a stable and harmonious home.
- As a general rule, the competent authority shall not be satisfied as aforesaid if the
difference in age between the adopter and the child is less than the normal difference in
age between parents and their children.
- The competent authority shall not grant an adoption until appropriate enquiries have
been made concerning the adopter, the child and his family.
- The enquiries, to the extent appropriate in each case, shall concern, inter alia,
the following matters:
- the personality, health and means of the adopter, particulars of his home and household
and his ability to bring up the child;
- why the adopter wishes to adopt the child;
- where only one of two spouses of the same marriage applies to adopt a child, why the
other spouse does not join in the application;
- the mutual suitability of the child and the adopter, and the length of time that the
child has been in his care and possession;
- the personality and health of the child, and subject to any limitations imposed by law,
- the views of the child with respect to the proposed adoption;
- the religious persuasion, if any, of the adopter and of the child.
- These enquiries shall be entrusted to a person or body recognised for that purpose by
law or by a judicial or administrative body. They shall, as far as practicable, be made by
social workers who are qualified in this field as a result of either their training or
- The provisions of this article shall not affect the power or duty of the competent
authority to obtain any information or evidence, whether or not within the scope of these
enquiries, which it considers likely to be of assistance.
- Adoption confers on the adopter in respect of the adopted person the rights and
obligations of every kind that a father or mother has in respect of a child born in lawful
Adoption confers on the adopted person in respect of the adopter the rights and
obligations of every kind that a child born in lawful wedlock has in respect of his father
- When the rights and obligations referred to in paragraph 1 of this article are created,
any rights and obligations of the same kind existing between the adopted person and his
father or mother or any other person or body shall cease to exist. Nevertheless, the law
may provide that the spouse of the adopter retains his rights and obligations in respect
of the adopted person if the latter is his legitimate, illegitimate or adopted child.
In addition the law may preserve the obligation of the parents to maintain (in the sense
of l'obligation d'entretenir and l'obligation alimentaire) or set up in life
or provide a dowry for the adopted person if the adopter does not discharge any such
- As a general rule, means shall be provided to enable the adopted person to acquire the
surname of the adopter either in substitution for, or in addition to, his own.
- If the parent of a child born in lawful wedlock has a right to the enjoyment of that
child's property, the adopter's right to the enjoyment of the adopted person's property
may, notwithstanding paragraph 1 of this article, be restricted by law.
- In matters of succession, in so far as the law of succession gives a child born in
lawful wedlock a right to share in the estate of his father or mother, an adopted child
shall, for the like purposes, be treated as if he were a child of the adopter born in
- Where the adopted child does not have, in the case of an adoption by one person, the
same nationality as the adopter, or in the case of an adoption by a married couple, their
common nationality, the Contracting Party of which the adopter or adopters are nationals
shall facilitate acquisition of its nationality by the child.
- A loss of nationality which could result from an adoption shall be conditional upon
possession or acquisition of another nationality.
- The number of children who may be adopted by an adopter shall not be restricted by law.
- A person who has, or is able to have, a child born in lawful wedlock, shall not on that
account be prohibited by law from adopting a child.
- If adoption improves the legal position of a child, a person shall not be prohibited by
law from adopting his own child not born in lawful wedlock.
- Before an adopted person comes of age the adoption may be revoked only by a decision of
a judicial or administrative authority on serious grounds, and only if revocation on that
ground is permitted by law.
- The preceding paragraph shall not affect the case of:
- an adoption which is null and void;
- an adoption coming to an end where the adopted person becomes the legitimated child of
When the enquiries made pursuant to Articles 8 and 9 of this Convention relate to a
person who lives or has lived in the territory of another Contracting Party, that
Contracting Party shall, if a request for information is made, promptly endeavour to
secure that the information requested is provided. The authorities may communicate
directly with each other for this purpose.
Provision shall be made to prohibit any improper financial advantage arising from a
child being given up for adoption.
Each Contracting Party shall retain the option of adopting provisions more favourable
to the adopted child.
Part III Supplementary provisions
An adoption shall not be granted until the child has been in the care of the adopters
for a period long enough to enable a reasonable estimate to be made by the competent
authority as to their future relations if the adoption were granted.
The public authorities shall ensure the promotion and proper functioning of public or
private agencies to which those who wish to adopt a child or to cause a child to be
adopted may go for help and advice.
The social and legal aspects of adoption shall be included in the curriculum for the
training of social workers.
- Provision shall be made to enable an adoption to be completed without disclosing to the
child's family the identity of the adopter.
- Provision shall be made to require or permit adoption proceedings to take place in
- The adopter and the adopted person shall be able to obtain a document which contains
extracts from the public records attesting the fact, date and place of birth of the
adopted person, but not expressly revealing the fact of adoption or the identity of his
- Public records shall be kept and, in any event, their contents reproduced in such a way
as to prevent persons who do not have a legitimate interest from learning the fact that a
person has been adopted or, if that is disclosed, the identity of his former parents.
Part IV Final clauses
- This Convention shall be open to signature by the member States of the Council of
Europe. It shall be subject to ratification or acceptance. Instruments of ratification or
acceptance shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- This Convention shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of the
third instrument of ratification or acceptance.
- In respect of a signatory State ratifying or accepting subsequently, the Convention
shall come into force three months after the date of the deposit of its instrument of
ratification or acceptance.
- After the entry into force of this Convention, the Committee of Ministers of the Council
of Europe may invite any non-member State to accede thereto.
- Such accession shall be effected by depositing with the Secretary General of the Council
of Europe an instrument of accession which shall take effect three months after the date
of its deposit.
- Any Contracting Party may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of
ratification, acceptance or accession, specify the territory or territories to which this
Convention shall apply.
- Any Contracting Party may, when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance or
accession or at any later date, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the
Council of Europe, extend this Convention to any other territory or territories specified
in the declaration and for whose international relations it is responsible or on whose
behalf it is authorised to give undertakings.
- Any declaration made in pursuance of the preceding paragraph may, in respect of any
territory mentioned in such declaration, be withdrawn according to the procedure laid down
in Article 27 of this Convention.
- Any Contracting Party whose law provides more than one form of adoption shall have the
right to apply the provisions of Article 10, paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4, and Article 12,
paragraphs 2 and 3, of this Convention to one only of such forms.
- The Contracting Party exercising this right, shall, at the time of signature or when
depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance or accession, or when making a
declaration in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 23 of this Convention, notify the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe thereof and indicate the way in which it has
- Such Contracting Party may terminate the exercise of this right and shall give notice
thereof to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- Any Contracting Party may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of
ratification, acceptance or accession, or when making a declaration in accordance with
paragraph 2 of Article 23 of this Convention, make not more than two reservations in
respect of the provisions of Part II of the Convention.
Reservations of a general nature shall not be permitted; each reservation may not affect
more than one provision.
A reservation shall be valid for five years from the entry into force of this Convention
for the Contracting Party concerned. It may be renewed for successive periods of five
years by means of a declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of
Europe before the expiration of each period.
- Any Contracting Party may wholly or partly withdraw a reservation it has made in
accordance with the foregoing paragraph by means of a declaration addressed to the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe, which shall become effective as from the date
of its receipt.
Each Contracting Party shall notify the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of
the names and addresses of the authorities to which requests under Article 14 may be
- This Convention shall remain in force indefinitely.
- Any Contracting Party may, in so far as it is concerned, denounce this Convention by
means of a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
- Such denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt by the
Secretary General of such notification.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member States of the
Council and any State which has acceded to this Convention of:
- any signature;
- any deposit of an instrument of ratification, acceptance or accession;
- any date of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with Article 21 thereof;
- any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 1;
- any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 2;
- any declaration received in pursuance of the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article
- any information received in pursuance of the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article
- any reservation made in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 25;
- the renewal of any reservation carried out in pursuance of the provisions of paragraph 1
of Article 25;
- the withdrawal of any reservation carried out in pursuance of the provisions of
paragraph 2 of Article 25;
- any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 26;
- any notification received in pursuance of the provisions of Article 27 and the date on
which denunciation takes effect.
In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this
Done at Strasbourg, this 24th day of April 1967, in English and in French, both texts
being equally authoritative, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives
of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit
certified copies to each of the signatory and acceding States.