Natural Born Children: The House of Lords and the Blood Tie

26 SEP 2006

Lucy Whitesmith, Barrister, 4 Paper Buildings and Daniel Coombes, Solicitor and mediator, Family Law in Partnership. The decision of the House of Lords in July 2006 in Re G (Children) [2006] UKHL 43 has a good claim to be the most important child law case since J v C[1970] AC. Despite its unusual facts, it is of universal application. It addresses s 1(1) of the Children Act 1989 and goes to the root of some of the most basic questions in family law, such as what is a parent? and how much does the blood tie matter? If the facts are familiar it is because the case was in the Court of Appeal a year earlier on the separate issue of sole or joint residence: Re G (Residence: Same-Sex Partner) [2005] 2 FLR 957. That decision gave strong support to the tide in favour of shared residence arrangements and, accordingly, bolstered the position of lesbian co-parents (non-biological lesbian mothers). The decision of the House of Lords is significant in the following areas:

  1. The definition of a parent.
  2. The significance of the blood tie.
  3. Same-sex couples and children.
  4. Enforcing contact.
  5. Restricting movement within England and Wales.

See November [2006] Fam Law for the full article.

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