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The best interests of the child in the cultural setting

Date:15 AUG 2016
Third slide
Family lawyer
How should the test of the best interests of the child be seen in the context of active support for the child's cultural heritage and upbringing? What happens if there is any conflict? How much should best interests outcomes be diminished or diluted to encourage cultural connections?

These are big issues facing many countries with significant cultural religious or ethnic groups. Many countries seek to be sensitive pluralistic and supportive of cultural elements but what happens when there may be a clash with what might otherwise be seen as the best interests of the child? Countries around the world need to share and learn from each other.

A recent appeal decision of the Full Court of Australia dealt with this issue. Atone level a simple matter of appropriate contact in respect of a 5-year-old daughter with her father. But the context is the opportunity for the girl to take part in a major cultural ceremony; important for the child's paternal heritage understanding and upbringing.

Summary facts

Lokare v Baum (2016) FamCAFC 135 is reported internationally on Austlii. The child is 5-and-a-half. The father is an indigenous Australian living in...

Read the full article here.