Family law


The sensitive and diverse nature of family law has meant that legislation is often drafted to allow the judiciary a measure of discretion in dealing with family matters. For example, parts of The Children Act 1989 could be seen to provide guidelines for the courts’ consideration rather than rigid rules. Scientific developments surrounding the area of fertility have necessitated changes in the law to take account of new situations. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Acts 1990 and 2008 have sought to clarify legal parentage and protect the interests of parties. The question asks students to consider the approach taken by Parliament in passing this legislation and whether this strikes an appropriate balance between providing legal certainty and allowing judges sufficient leeway to consider the circumstances of each case. Essay

Question “Family law is traditionally flexible, giving the court scope to deal with each case on its own merits. Fertility law, in contrast, is often driven by a Parliamentary wish to create clarity and certainty at a wider public policy level. The two approaches do not always sit together comfortably.” Gamble, N, ‘Lesbian parents and sperm donors: Re G and Re Z’, Nov [2013] Fam Law 1429 Critically assess whether the law relating to assisted reproduction and legal parentage is too rigid to adequately protect the interests of parties. 

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