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Parental Responsibility and Changes in Society

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According to a recent article in the ‘Independent’, a transgender man wants to be identified as the father on his baby’s birth certificate, as he legally became a male when his child was born. Parental responsibility (PR) encompasses all of the rights, responsibilities and obligations that a person has in relation to their child.

Under the Children Act 1989, mothers are given automatic PR when a child is born and it is usually fathers who obtain PR either by being married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth, by the father’s name being recorded on the child’s birth certificate when the child’s birth is registered, or by entering into a  Parental Responsibility Agreement from the mother (with the birth mother’s consent) or obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from the Court (if the birth mother does not consent) .

The transgender male is now seeking a legal remedy from the European Court of Human Rights after the Registrar informed him that the law requires people who give birth to be registered as mothers. He is arguing that the current law breaches Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which is the right to respect for private and family life.

On the 7th June 2018 a preliminary hearing was held at the High Court in London where Mr Justice Francis said, ‘the issue had never been raised in a Court in England and Wales before and that if the man won his fight, ministers might have to consider changing the law.’ A judge will be making a decision about this in September.

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