Our articles are written by experts in their field and include barristers, solicitors, judges, mediators, academics and professionals from a range of related disciplines. Family Law provides a platform for debate for all the important topics, from divorce and care proceedings to transparency and access to justice. If you would like to contribute please email editor@familylaw.co.uk.
A day in the life Of...
Read on

ADOPTION: Re P (Adoption: Unmarried Couple) [2008] UKHL 38, [2008] The Times June 23

Date:25 JUN 2008

(House of Lords; Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Baroness Hale of Richmond and Lord Mance; 18 June 2008)

Northern Ireland regulations preventing the consideration of an unmarried couple as potential adoptive parents breached the couple's right to respect for family life under European Convention on Human Rights, Art 8. If it were rational to adopt a 'bright line rule' to determine what class of people should adopt children, there would be much to be said for identifying married people as the best people to adopt children. However, such a 'bright line rule' was quite irrational, because the law required the interests of each child to be examined on a case-by-case basis. The fact that a couple did not wish to undertake the obligations of marriage was a factor to be considered by the court in assessing the likely stability of their relationship and its impact upon the long term welfare of the child, but this could not rationally be elevated into an irrebuttable presumption of unsuitability.