Birth certificates after the death of a parent: BBC Radio 4

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January 5, 2015

Senior Partner Marilyn Stowe was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme regarding Posthumous Birth Certificates

Mrs Stowe discussed a very unfortunate case of an unmarried father dying before the birth of his child. As the parents weren’t married, the mother was unable to have the father’s name put on their child’s birth certificate.

To read Mrs Stowe’s take on the situation, click here.



MJS – Marilyn Stowe

WR – Winifred Robinson

WR      Well Marilyn Stowe is the Senior Partner at Stowe Family Law.  Why does the law place great greater trust in married parents than unmarried ones.

MJS     It’s strange isn’t it but I think a clue in this is the fact that the law, the relevant law is Section 55A of the Family Law Act 1986.  Now let’s go back to 1986 and think what was society like then and what it’s like now 20 odd years later when things are very different and actually I was having a look, you know knowing I was coming on the programme I was having a look at the requirements for unmarried couples to register a child where one of them can’t be there and all they have to do is execute a Statutory Declaration of Parentage.  So the registrar will accept that and it strikes me that given that the major problem that has come out in this interview is the fact that Legal Aid is no longer available you know 20 years ago when this law came out it was easy you could go into a solicitors office be assessed for Legal Aid you would probably quality for Legal Aid to some extent and then you could forget about the cost because the state would meet the cost and somebody like the two girls you’ve got in your studio would never find themselves in this shocking situation well things have moved on so it seems to me that in straight forward cases exceptions should be made for Registrars to be able to register a birth for example where they are presented with DNA evidence.  DNA testing could be made available and with irrefutable DNA evidence I’d have thought that there could be some administrative procedure to enable this to happen.  The President of the Family Division is talking about doing something similar for divorce itself so it seems to me where something like this has thrown up a problem that’s easily curable I’d have thought an administrative process could be devised that could help.

WR      Marilyn Stowe, thank you very much.

MJS     Thank you.


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