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Declaration of Parentage

A Declaration of Parentage by the English Court declares whether a named individual is the legal parent of another person under English law. It can be used in a range of situations, including:

  • Problems with completion of patient HFEA consent forms at UK fertility clinics (e.g. missing or errors), calling into question the legal parentage of a non birth parent for their child.
  • Dispute about an individual or child’s legal father or second legal parent (this can raise complex legal and evidential issues about conception arrangements, personal relationships, status and consent in modern family cases).
  • Issue or dispute about biological and legal parentage following a direct-to-consumer DNA test (e.g. following a DNA test through AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage).
  • Issue or dispute about an individual or child’s birth certificate (e.g. whether a birth certificate should be re-registered to add or remove a person’s details).
  • Dispute about legal parentage and financial provision for a child or individual.

Applications for a Declaration of Parentage can involve complex legal issues concerning fertility and family law in the UK. They can also encompass a range of associated legal issues relating to personal identity and legacy, medical and genetic history, citizenship and nationality, parental responsibility, financial rights, contact, care and upbringing of a child.

Applications for a Declaration of Parentage can lead to unexpected discoveries about conception, maternity and paternity and unknown siblings and relatives. They can produce information that challenges established family history and introduce new narratives associated with fertility treatment, egg and sperm donation, unplanned pregnancy, love, failed relationships and loss. These applications can therefore have significant and wide-ranging legal, practical, financial and emotional implications for individuals, parents, children and families.

The English Family Court will carefully consider all relevant circumstances and will only make an order for DNA testing or a Declaration of Parentage (or other family order) if it is appropriate in the overall circumstances of the case. An application for a Declaration of Parentage is therefore a bespoke application made under section 55A of the Family Law Act 1986.

Find out more and read our blog:

“DNA testing, parentage disputes and the law”

“Declaration of parentage: confirming family ancestry and biological parentage following adoption”

Netflix’s “Our Father”: DNA testing, paternity disputes and questions about biological and legal parentage

“Declaration of Parentage, resolving family ancestry and questions about parentage and birth certificates”

“Direct to consumer genetic testing: a family and fertility law perspective”.

If you require legal advice, assistance or representation in relation to making or defending an application for a Declaration of Parentage contact us by telephone or email.

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

Package One

Declaration of parentage following UK fertility treatment where HFEA consent forms were not completed, lost, contained errors – legal review

This provides initial expert legal advice to support people who need to rectify and secure legal parentage for a non-birth parent after fertility treatment at a UK clinic.

Bespoke Legal Services

We also provide further and ongoing tailored legal advice, assistance and representation in the English Family Court for a Declaration of Parentage or other family proceedings, including:

Leading Cases

Louisa Ghevaert has dealt with numerous leading legal parentage cases in the UK, find out more here. These include:

In the matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Case V) [2016] 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.

News and Commentary

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

“DNA testing, parentage disputes and the law” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog, 15 June 2022).

“Declaration of parentage: confirming family ancestry and biological parentage following adoption” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog, 8 June 2022).

“Netflix’s “Our Father”: DNA testing, paternity disputes and questions about biological and legal parentage”, (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog 18 May 2022).

“Declaration of Parentage, resolving family ancestry and questions about parentage and birth certificates”, (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog 20 November 2021).

“Direct to consumer genetic testing: a family and fertility law perspective”, (Louis Ghevaert Associates’ blog 28 July 2020).

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