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Family law in Australia: re Patrick and the matter of Child A

Mills, Eithne and McConvill, James 2004, Family law in Australia: re Patrick and the matter of Child A, International journal of human rights, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 17-44, doi: 10.1080/1364298042000212529.

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Title Family law in Australia: re Patrick and the matter of Child A
Author(s) Mills, Eithne
McConvill, James
Journal name International journal of human rights
Volume number 8
Issue number 1
Start page 17
End page 44
Publisher Frank Cass & Co. Ltd
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2004
ISSN 1364-2987
1744-053X
Summary In Re Patrick, Guest J of the Family Court of Australia dealt with the issue of whether a gay sperm donor, known to the lesbian mother of the child, had a right under Australian law to regular contact with the child. Justice Guest held that the sperm donor was allowed contact with the child to the extent that this was in the child's best interests. His Honour did, however, find that due to the way in which particular provisions of Australia's Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) are drafted, a sperm donor cannot be regarded as the 'parent' of the child, and accordingly called for legislative reform to recognise the rights of known sperm donors wanting involvement with the child. In this article, we discuss the matter of Re Patrick, comparing it with the strikingly similar matter of Pursuer Against Defender in the Case of Child A, decided recently by Sheriff Laura Duncan in the Glasgow Sheriff Court. We will then outline a proposal to amend the Family Law Act 1975 so that sperm donors can apply for an order to be a 'parent' for the purposes of the law, and therefore have the same rights and responsibilities as any other parent. In response to the tragic ending to the matter of Re Patrick, we conclude by stressing the need for an educational programme to be established, so that lesbian women who are considering parenthood may do so in the knowledge that the sperm donor does have the status of 'father', and in some jurisdictions 'parent', rather than merely being a 'donor'.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/1364298042000212529
Field of Research 180113 Family Law
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2004, Taylor & Francis Ltd
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30002645

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Law
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