Status of Parenthood

Start date
12 June 2003
04 473 3453
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Project Overview

This project reviews the rules relating to the parental status of adults with children, including the review of the legal meaning of parent, the purpose of parenthood laws, and the importance of the legal relationship between a parent and child.

Terms of Reference 

To review the rules relating to the parental status of children and, in particular, to 
inquire into and report on: 

  1. How parental status should be determined in law, specifically what value should be ascribed to a person’s biological relationship with a child; a person’s social or care giving relationship with a child and a person’s gestational relationship with a child; 
  2. Whether the assumption underlying the current law, that a child should have no more than two parents, be amended to allow a child to have more than two parents identified in law; 
  3. Whether the law should permit a child to have only one parent recognised in law; 
  4. Whether the current statutory presumptions as to parenthood based on relationships with the child’s birth mother be amended, and if so, how; 
  5. What should be the processes and evidence by which an adult can prove or disprove parenthood; 
  6. What value should the law attach to agreements between adults as to parenthood and what should be the effect of disproving a biological relationship with the child; 
  7. What legal effect should surrogacy agreements have in determining the parental status of the adults who are party to the agreements and what should be the consequences if one party to an agreement reneges on it; 
  8. Whether a commissioning couple, before entering into a surrogacy agreement, be required to gain approval as parents as adoptive parents are required to; and
  9. To consider and comment upon any other legal issues relating to Status of Parenthood which arise in the course of this review.