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Parental orders for foreign-born children ‘must go the High Court’

All cases involving parental orders for children born abroad must be allocated to the High Court, a judge has ruled.

Re Z concerned a commercial surrogacy arrangement between a British couple and a woman in India. Following in vitro fertilisation, non-identical twin girls were born in May last year. The commissioning couple then applied for a parental order transferring the legal status of parent from the surrogate mother to them, as required by section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.

However, due to problems with the twins’ travel documents, the couple were unable to bring them back to the UK until May this year, and the delay was partly attributed to the fact that their case had not allocated to a High Court judge.

The couples were eventually granted their parental orders in July, but the accompanying judgement has only just been published. In this, Ms Justice Russell included guidance on handing cases of a similar nature in the future.

In addition to stating that such cases must be handled by High Court judges, she declared the child’s welfare must be properly assessed by a court official through a face-to-face meeting with the commissioning couple in each case, unless there is a sufficient quantity of independent evidence available or some other significant reason why a meeting cannot take place.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. nan says:

    These orders should be made easily availble, with particular orders in the courts. Some People have no option but LIP,if these were easily to find it would mean less confusion,solicitors should also be pointing these orders out, but dont.

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