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03 Apr 2014

Jane Campbell represents parent in same sex custody case

Jane Campbell has successfully represented an appellant parent in the Court of Appeal in Re G Children [2014] EWCA Civ 336. Judgment was given by Black LJ, sitting with Moses and Kitchen LLJ, on 25 March 2014.

The case concerned a same sex couple who have 5 year old twins. The appellant is the biological parent, the respondent the birth parent. The twins were conceived through the respondent undergoing IVF treatment using the appellant’s eggs and the sperm of an anonymous donor. The parties were in a longstanding relationship which broke down when the twins were 4. They separated and a residence battle ensued at Portsmouth County Court. By virtue of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 1990 the respondent is the twins’ mother. The appellant could only acquire PR for the twins by either the respondent’s agreement, which she was not prepared to give, or a shared residence order.

The parties agreed at the county court (at an interim contact hearing) the apportionment of the twins’ time with each party. Therefore, the only issue the trial judge had to decide on that day was whether the order should be framed as a contact order or a shared residence order. The latter having the effect of conferring PR on the appellant. The trial judge declined to make a shared residence order. Black LJ said that the trial judge had erred in the way she had approached the case. She had concentrated too much on the contact arrangements and she had failed to give sufficient consideration to the appellant’s position as the twins’ biological mother.

The case was further complicated by the fact that the respondent’s new partner, as a result of a PR agreement with them, did have PR and the appellant was the mother of the twins’ full biological younger sibling. The case has been remitted to Portsmouth County Court.

The case has been widely reported in the national media including in The Daily Telegraph

The full judgement can be accessed here