Applying the principle of the best interests of the child in inter-country legal guardianship and adoption matters

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Kampala international international: School Of Law
This study analyses the child's best interest principle as applied in inter country adoptions and legal guardianship decision made in contemporary Uganda. The international human rights regime particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) elaborately delineates how children should be treated in particular situations to ensure that decisions or initiatives undertaken promote, rather than inhibit, their best interest. Uganda is a state party to the CRC and as such under an obligation to implement the convention. The role of courts of law in inter country adoptions is of particular interest in this study. Firstly, as it is the courts of law that evaluate and assess the circumstances under which adoptions are made. In Uganda they are the competent authority within the meaning of the Hague convention on ICA. Secondly, courts of law, besides domestic legislations, use other subsidiary laws, international human rights law inclusive, as well as their inherent discretion in adjudication of cases. In other words the courts of law are highly empowered to promote and protect the BIP of children in ICA, more than any administrative organ in Uganda. Be that as it may, the study reveals that child's best interest principle in its broad sense receives peripheral attention in court decisions on adoption matters. Instead physical and financial related welfare and other considerations take a centre stage. The results of this have been injurious to the rights of the children because it has produced an environment that has allowed clandestine activities associated with child trafficking to flourish within the context of ICA in Uganda. This paper contends that courts of law are an indispensable organ in the dispensation of justice and thus shouldn't overlook critical issues like the child's best interest in taking critical decisions as in adoption of children. They have the duty to protect, and fulfill the children rights within the ICA settings. Adoption is a lifelong undertaking, implying that a flawed adoption process portends irreversible damage to the child's well being, survival and development.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the degree of bachelor of laws of Kampala international university
Children's Rights, Legal guardianship, Adoption, Family court, Uganda