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One Response to “CONTACT: CW V SG [2013] EWHC 854 (FAM) – Termination of Parental Responsibility in Respect of an Unmarried Father”

  1. As so often in ECHR cases, the court in Smallwood did not dispute that the legislation was discriminatory, but justified discrimination on the grounds that the relationship between unmarried fathers and their children “varies from ignorance and indifference to a close stable relationship indistinguishable from the conventional family unit”. The same could be said of the relationships between married fathers and their children and between mothers and their children. The court did not explain how that constituted a “reason” or an argument, it is merely an observation, and not a very perceptive one at that.

    The court also justified the discrimination on the grounds that courts would not grant PR if they could not also rescind it, which also does not seem to constitute a logical argument.

    Baker J further said that the father in CW v SG, if he had not already had PR, would not have been granted it on application, and used that as an argument for removing PR, but, again, that is not necessarily a reasoned argument.

    There is something about the removal of PR which does not sit well, particularly given the discriminatory nature of the legislation, however horrendous the crimes of these men. The same outcome could be achieved with orders for no contact, section 91(14) orders, and orders allowing a change of surname, etc. It is concerning that the arguments in favour of removing PR lack coherence.

    It will be interesting to see if the appeal in CW v SG resolves any of these issues.

  2. Nick Langford on November 3rd, 2013 at 10:58 am

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