fbpx

Court Corrects Bureaucratic Nightmare for Family

4th April 2017 By Arman Khosravi

One of the most important roles played by judges is to protect individuals against unlawful treatment by the state. In one unique example, the High Court came to the aid of a couple who found themselves caught in a legal nightmare after their twins were born following fertility treatment.

Under the auspices of a reputable fertility clinic, the couple had arranged conception of the twins using donated sperm. However, officials twice refused to register the man as the children’s father because forms that the couple had completed, which were said to be required in order to prove that they had consented to the fertility treatment, were missing. The couple felt that they had no choice but to register the twins’ births with the boxes identifying their father left blank.

The Court had no difficulty in finding that the couple had freely consented to the treatment and in recognising them as the twins’ legal parents. However, a further problem arose because, if their birth certificates were merely amended, the role of the sperm donor would be obvious to all who looked at them. The couple, who had not intended to tell their children that they were conceived using donated sperm, understandably objected to that course.

Ruling on the case, the Court noted that the state, by its actions, had denied the couple the right to decide for themselves, within the privacy of the family, what in their view was in the best interests of their children. In refusing to name the father on the birth certificates, the registrars had followed ‘to the letter’ an official handbook. The Court nevertheless found that they had erred in law and that the relevant parts of the handbook required revision.

In upholding the couple’s judicial review challenge, the Court overturned the birth certificates and directed that entirely fresh ones be prepared. The new documents would give no indication to a future reader that a sperm donor played any part in the twins’ conception.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Relationship Status Put Under Spotlight in Divorce Case

26th February, 2024 By

Divorce proceedings are rarely cut and dry, especially where the passage of time adds complexity to matters. This was certainly so in a recent case that required a Family Court judge to rule on the validity of a decree nisi. The case centred on the divorce proceedings of a couple in their fifties and focused on a decree nisi that had been pronounced in 2012, following an application by the husband. Now seeking to finalise the divorce with a decree absolute, the husband asserted that the decree nisi had been properly...

Will Execution – Remote Witnessing Legislation Expires

22nd February, 2024 By

A legal amendment that was made during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing the witnessing of wills to take place via videoconferencing has officially expired. As of 31 January 2024, the Wills Act 1837 (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 is no longer active. It was introduced in response to the pandemic, as a means of facilitating the valid execution of wills via remote witnessing. The Order applied to wills made between 31 January 2020 and 31 January 2022, but was later extended to 31 January 2024. Section 9 of the Wills Act...

Psychotherapy Condition Leads to Contact Order Appeal

20th February, 2024 By

Wherever possible, the courts will do what they can to support contact between parents and children but, in some instances, that contact comes with conditions attached. The nature of such conditions was the cause of contention in recent appeal proceedings brought by the father of two young boys. The man appealed against a High Court order that allowed for contact periods with his children, which would progress from supervised to unsupervised and increase in length but were dependent upon him engaging in psychotherapy. This condition had been imposed following a...

Beware of Builders Offering Cut-Price Work – Court of Appeal Cautionary Tale

16th February, 2024 By

Every householder should understand the dire risks involved in opening their doors to those promising to carry out cut-price building work. A Court of Appeal decision provided distressing examples of almost the worst that can happen. A householder approaching retirement age was taken in by a workman who knocked on his door, offering to paint the front of his home for £1,000. He was introduced to another man – the offender – whom the workman described as his business partner. The pair proceeded, over a period of months, to carry...