Complex Children and Family Law
The creation of modern families and those built through assisted conception can raise a wide range of complex, unforeseen and unwanted legal and practical issues, including:
- Relationship issues with an existing or previous partner, known donor, co-parent or surrogate.
- Uncertainty about legal status of a new partner.
- Lost or impaired fertility (illness, injury, medical negligence).
- Age, social, cultural, gender, medical and religious issues.
- International lifestyle legal and practical issues (e.g. international conflicts of law about legal status and rights of children, parents and families).
We provide expert specialist legal advice. We operate at the forefront of law, policy and practice , delivering innovative legal solutions to meet the needs of modern families.
How we can help
Our legal services include:
- Legal packages
- Bespoke legal advice tailored to your situation, needs and wishes
- Preparation of legal documentation
- Legal support and representation in court proceedings
Complex personal or family situation - legal review
This provides initial tailored expert advice for those with complex personal, children and family issues. It can encompass a wide range of issues, including:
- Legal advice on family and fertility law in the UK and its application internationally.
- Legal advice on legal parentage and parental responsibility for a child under English law.
- Legal advice on a child’s upbringing and legal and practical implications arising in the UK.
- Legal advice on legal and biological identity, status, legacy and family narrative under English law.
- Identifies legal and practical risks and steps to mitigate these.
- Answers legal and practical questions.
- Creates a tailored legal and practical action plan.
This consultation does not provide medical advice. It only provides initial specialist advice on fertility and family law in the UK (and not law in other jurisdictions). It does not include preparation or review of legal documents or legal representation. Terms and conditions apply. For further legal advice and assistance consider our other legal packages and bespoke legal services.
If you require legal assistance or wish to discuss a complex children and family law matter contact us
+44 (0) 20 7965 8399
Bespoke legal services
We also provide further expert tailored legal advice and representation concerning complex children, fertility and family law issues under English law, including:
- Wardship order
- Declaration of parentage order
- An adoption order under English law
- An order recognising a foreign adoption under English law
- Parental responsibility order
- Child arrangements order
- A specific issue order
- A financial provision order
Louisa Ghevaert has dealt with numerous leading cases in the UK dealing with complex children, fertility and family law, including:
Whittington Hospital NHS Trust v XX  UKSC 14, a landmark ruling where the UK Supreme Court by a majority of 3:2 dismissed the defendant hospital’s appeal. This enabled the recovery of damages for commercial surrogacy, donor conception and fertility treatment in the US for a woman rendered infertile and unable to carry a pregnancy following a delay in detecting cancer in smear tests and biopsies. Louisa Ghevaert gave expert evidence in the case, which featured in The Guardian (1 April 2020) and in BioNews (6 April 2020).
XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust  EWCA Civ 2832, where for the first time the Court of Appeal awarded damages for the costs of fertility treatment, donor eggs and commercial surrogacy in California for a woman rendered infertile and unable to carry a pregnancy following a delay in detecting cancer in smear tests and biopsies. Louisa Ghevaert gave expert evidence in the case, which featured in The Telegraph 19 December 2018 and The Times, The Telegraph, The Mail Online and The Mirror on 27 January 2019.
AB v CD, EF, GH & IL  EWHC 1590 (Fam), representing an intended mother in international contested assisted reproduction and modern family law proceedings in the High Court concerning 2 surrogate born children. This case marks a legal first in the treatment of blended families in the UK following assisted reproduction, divorce, re-marriage, serious allegations of domestic violence and abuse as well as the legal status and identity of two surrogate born children, their biological, intended and social parents and arrangements for the children’s care and upbringing.
XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust  EWHC 2318 (QB), being the first legal case in the UK in which the High Court awarded damages to a woman for altruistic UK surrogacy and fertility treatment following a delay in detecting cancer in smear tests and biopsies. This case marks the cross-section of fertility, family and medical negligence law. It highlights the importance of fertility, surrogacy and family law aspects when medical negligence renders a woman infertile and unable to carry a pregnancy. Louisa Ghevaert gave expert evidence in this case.
In the matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Case V)  EWHC 2356 (Fam), obtaining a declaration of parentage in the High Court for a woman in a same-sex relationship for a child conceived through fertility treatment at a UK fertility clinic licensed by the HFEA. The HFEA Consent Form WP was missing from the clinic file. The case for the first time gave guidance on the practice of making interim costs orders in favour of patients to fund litigation and access to justice following errors in the completion of consent forms at UK fertility clinics.
In JP v LP & Ors  EWHC 595 (Fam), acting for the intended father in a high profile complex UK surrogacy dispute case following marriage breakdown and divorce. This case established for the first time a legal framework for cases where the legal criteria for a parental order cannot be met, including wardship, and featured in The Telegraph, BBC News and Mail Online (6 March 2014).
Read more here.
News and commentary
The UK Supreme Court awards damages for commercial surrogacy (BioNews, comment piece by Louisa Ghevaert, 6 April 2020).
Apple podcast on Speak From The Body with Avni Touch entitled “Fertility law for modern families with Louisa Ghevaert” (26 February 2020).
Click here to read more about our media and commentary work in relation to family and fertility law, policy and practice.