The state (at the Prosecution of leontis nicolaou)

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1 I.R.


THE STATE (at the Prosecution of LEONTIS NICOLAOU) v. AN BORD UCHTÃLA , In the Matter of the Constitution, And in the Matter of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act,1961, And in the Matter of the Adoption Act,1952, And in the Matter of an Adoption Order dated the 13th day of September, 1961, made by An Bord Uchtála in Respect of Mary Carmel Donnelly an infant

High Court.

17. July 1964

Supreme Court.

24. July 1964

High Court.

15,16, 17 Dec. 1964
25. Jan. 1965
24,30, 31 Mar. 1965
1,2 April 1965
31. May 1965

Supreme Court.

17,18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30 Nov. 1965
1,2, 6 Dec. 1965
22. July 1966

Constitution - Adoption - Illegitimate child - Natural father opposed to adoption- Mother arranging adoption - Adoption order made without natural fatherbeing heard - Validity of order - Certiorari - Whether Adoption Act, 1952,repugnant to provisions of the Constitution - Constitution of Ireland,Articles 40, 41 and 42 - Adoption Act, 1952 (No. 25 of 1952), ss. 14,15 and 16.

The provisions of the Adoption Act, 1952, providing for the making of an adoption order by the Adoption Board in relation to an illegitimate child without the natural father being heard are not contrary or repugnant to the Constitution.

So held by the Supreme Court ( Ó Dálaigh C.J., Davitt P., Lavery, Haugh and Walsh JJ.).

Held further by the Supreme Court that the natural father of an illegitimate child is not, as such, entitled to be heard prior to the making of an adoption order by the Adoption Board under the provisions of the Adoption Act, 1952, and a provision to that effect is not repugnant to the Constitution.


The applicant, Leontis Nicolaou, was the natural father of the child born in London to a woman of Irish parents who was a citizen of Ireland. The applicant wished to marry the mother of the child but for various reasons out of his control and not of his desire he was unable to do so. Most of these reasons flowed from the mother's unwillingness to marry the applicant for various reasons. The mother, with the applicant's consent, took the child to her parents' home in Ireland and then commenced making arrangements to have the child adopted. The applicant was at first unaware of this but when he became aware of it he indicated very strongly that he was not agreeable to having the child adopted and that he wished to provide for the child himself. He wished to have the child with him and was ready and willing to give the mother a home with himself or else to marry her, whichever she wished. Notwithstanding the applicant's views on the matter the mother arranged for the child to be adopted and an adoption order was made, unknown to the applicant, who, after some considerable difficulty, obtained information as to the adoption order. He thereupon applied to the High Court for a conditional order of certiorari to have the order brought up and quashed, and his application was heard by Murnaghan J. on the 15th July, 1964.

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