Sir James Munby, the President of the High Court Family Division, has made a formal declaration that UK law discriminates against single parents with children born through surrogacy and is incompatible with their human rights.
Re Z (A Child) (No 2)  EWHC 1191 (Fam) concerns a British biological father of a 21-month-old boy known as ‘Z’, who was born through a US surrogacy arrangement and lives with his single father in the UK. Last September the High Court ruled that it could not grant a UK parental order (the order needed to extinguish the responsibilities of the surrogate and to issue a UK birth certificate for Z), because UK surrogacy law only allows couples, and not single parents, to apply. The court ruled that the US surrogate who carried Z (who lives in the USA, is not his biological mother and has no legal status there) has sole decision-making rights in the UK. Z was made a ward of court.
The President of the Family Division has now declared that the law is incompatible with the father’s and the child’s human rights, and discriminates against them. In an unprecedented move, the Secretary of State for Health decided not to oppose the father’s application, conceding that UK law breached human rights legislation and consenting to the court making a declaration of incompatibility. Although only Parliament can change the law, declarations of incompatibility under the Human Rights Act are unusual and carry significant weight: only 20 final declarations have ever been made, and all but one have prompted the law being changed. However, the government has not yet said whether it plans to push forward reform.
Read More: familylaw.co.ukBack to News
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