At Louisa Ghevaert Associates, we understand that international children law issues can arise in many different situations. We have leading expertise in navigating and resolving complex international children law issues, including:

  • A lack of international harmonisation of surrogacy law (meaning surrogate babies born overseas can be left stateless, legally parentless or with the wrong legal parents).
  • International lifestyle issues (e.g. lack of legal parentage, parental rights, citizenship or a passport due to overseas birth or residence of a child or following relocation).
  • An international children law dispute (e.g. care and upbringing of a child, contact and exercise of parental responsibility).
  • Issues and difficulties with legal parentage for a child following overseas fertility treatment.
  • Issues and difficulties with legal recognition of a foreign adoption.
  • Novel, unusual, high net worth and high profile international personal situations affecting family building and family life (e.g. heightened confidentiality needs, additional VIP service levels, international multi-disciplinary expertise requirements, need for cutting-edge legal solutions).
  • International aspects and difficulties arising from a direct-to-consumer DNA test (e.g. navigating international applications for a Declaration or Parentage or an application for DNA testing in the English Court).
  • International aspects and issues associated with a known donation or a co-parenting arrangement (e.g. advising and preparing an international known donor or co-parenting agreement in collaboration with foreign lawyers).
  • Expert witness legal services (e.g. to bring or defend a claim for international fertility treatment, surrogacy and donor conception within medical negligence proceedings).

How we can help

Our international children law services include:

  • Initial and ‘ad hoc’ legal advice.
  • Preparation of documents.
  • Legal support and representation in court proceedings.

Our expert bespoke legal advice and representation encompasses complex international children, fertility and family law applications in the English High Court, including:

Our leading international children, fertility and family law expertise is tailored to your personal situation, needs and wishes. We provide high quality legal advice and creative solutions because we operate at the forefront of rapidly evolving fertility, children and family law, policy and practice in the UK and internationally.

If you require assistance with an international children law or assisted reproduction law issue or dispute please contact us.

 +44 (0) 20 7965 8399

Well Known Cases

Louisa Ghevaert has dealt with numerous leading international children law cases in the UK, including:

Re X,Y and Z (Children: Parental Orders: Time Limit) [2022] EWHC 198 (Fam), an important legal ruling where the English High Court stepped in and granted parental orders for 3 surrogate born children following complex international conflicts of law between the US (California & Oregon), Denmark and the UK, extending the six-month statutory deadline for issue post birth and carefully navigating complex legal issues associated with the collapse of a US surrogacy agency, a pending criminal charge of assault against one of the intended parents and serious legal difficulties in Denmark where Danish authorities threatened to deport the children.

Whittington Hospital NHS Trust v XX [2020] 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 [2018] 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 following a dispute about 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 [2018] EWHC 1590 (Fam), representing an intended mother in international  (UK and Australia) contested assisted reproduction and modern family law proceedings in the High Court concerning 2 Indian 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, parentage and identity of two surrogate born children, their biological, intended and social parents and arrangements for the children’s care and upbringing.

In Re C [2013] EWHC 2408 (Fam), obtaining a parental order (legal parentage) for intended parents who conceived a child through a Californian (USA) commercial surrogacy arrangement. This case redefines the English Court’s approach to the authorisation of commercial payments in view of the UK public policy restriction against commercial surrogacy.

In Re IJ (a Child) [2011] EWHC 921, obtaining a parental order (legal parentage)for British parents whose surrogate born child was born stateless and parentless in Ukraine. The case highlights the legal difficulties associated with foreign surrogacy and the importance of expert legal advice.

In Re L (a minor) [2010] EWHC 3146 (Fam), obtaining a parental order (legal parentage) for British parents who conceived a child with a US surrogate mother (in Illinois, USA). The case marks a legal watershed ruling that the welfare of the child is decisive over the public policy ban on commercial surrogacy in the UK except in the clearest cases of abuse of public policy and featured in The Telegraph (8 December 2010).

In Re X and Y (foreign surrogacy) [2008] EWHC 3030 (Fam), being the first case in UK legal history to test the law for British parents conceiving through an international commercial surrogacy arrangement in the Ukraine and which involved complex and ground-breaking legal issues in successfully securing a parental order (legal parentage), featured in BioNews (January 2009)

Read more in our Well Known Cases section.

News and Commentary

Our expert international children, fertility and family lawyer Louisa Ghevaert also regularly commentates on international assisted reproduction law and family law for modern families in the press, podcasts, articles and publications.

“UK Adoption Order granted to a single non-biological mother for a child born through a Californian surrogacy arrangement”, (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog, 3 March 2023).

“Netflix’s Our Father: DNA testing, paternity disputes and questions about biological and legal parentage”, (Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog, 16 May 2022).

“International surrogacy law: existing conflicts unresolved” (BioNews, comment piece by Louisa Ghevaert 14 March 2022).

“Denmark Threatens To Deport Surrogate-Born Children” featuring Louisa Ghevaert (Above the Law, 9 February 2022).

“The global legal identity gap”, Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog (21 August 2020).

“The UK Supreme Court awards damages for commercial surrogacy” (BioNews, comment piece by Louisa Ghevaert, 6 April 2020).

Click here to read more about our media and commentary work in relation to family and fertility law, policy and practice.

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