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Surrogacy legislation discriminates against single people, judge rules

Published 23/05/2016

A single man has won a family court discrimination fight
A single man has won a family court discrimination fight

A single man who fathered a child via a surrogate mother has won a family court discrimination fight.

He argued that legislation governing surrogacy arrangements discriminated against single people - and a senior judge has agreed.

The man claimed that the wording of part of the 2008 Fertilisation and Embryology Act meant that an application for a "parental order" could only be made by two people.

He said the legislation was therefore incompatible with human rights laws.

Sir James Munby, the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, has agreed.

The judge, president of the Family Division of the High Court, has made a "declaration of incompatibility" in a ruling after analysing the case at a hearing on London.

Sir James had analysed legal argument from lawyers representing the man and lawyers representing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt's legal team had accepted that provisions of the 2008 Act were incompatible with human rights covering respect for family life and discrimination.

Barrister Samantha Broadfoot, who represented Mr Hunt, told Sir James: "It is accepted that there is a difference in treatment between a single person entering into a lawful surrogacy arrangement and a couple entering the same arrangement."

But she said adoption was an "available solution".

Sir James said the child at the centre of the case had been made a ward of court and placed in the care of his father at an earlier stage of litigation - in order to secure his legal "position".

He gave the man permission to make further applications relating to parental status.

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