Following a landmark case in 2016, the process to review The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 will begin today as a draft remedial order is being sent to Parliament.

In 2016, Elizabeth Isaacs QC and Adem Muzaffer, from St Ives Chambers, and Natalie Gamble and her team from NGA Law challenged the law in relation to single parent surrogacy.  The remedial order as part of a Command paper being issued on Wednesday 29th November 2017 means that Parliament will now amend The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.

The case was brought by a single man who had fathered a child via a surrogate in the USA.  When he applied to the Family Court for a Parental Order, as required through The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, he was denied as the law required the application to be made by “two people”.

Ms Isaacs QC, working with Adem Muzaffer and Natalie Gamble, argued that this was discriminatory interference with a single person’s rights to a private and family life via the European Convention of Human Rights.  Furthermore, Ms Isaacs QC argued that if an individuals’ marital status is ‘single’, this was a status within the meaning of article 14 of the Convention.  In summary, The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 was at odds with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act as it discriminated against single individuals.

From today, there is a 60-day period of scrutiny of the remedial order to amend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 taking in views from stakeholders, which will include St Ives Chambers and NGA Law.

“Scrutiny of the law is an important part of the work that QCs and barristers undertake,” commented Elizabeth Isaacs QC, “We have highlighted a discrepancy between the UK and EU law which resulted in a biological father being legally estranged from his child.  I am delighted that the remedial order and Command paper are being issued and brought up-to-date to mirror the diversity that exists within modern UK family structures.”

”We are delighted that the longstanding and unfair discrimination against single parents and their children is coming to an end, and we hope that Parliament will pass the law change urgently so that children no longer have to live as legal orphans” commented Natalie Gamble.  “We also hope this will be a first step in the right direction of wider surrogacy law reform, and are eagerly anticipating an announcement from the Law Commission as to whether they will review UK surrogacy law as a whole to make it fit for 21st century families.”

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