Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
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|X (a minor by Her Children's Guardian Ms Jacqueline Roddy)
Z 2nd Applicant appeared in person
The 1st Respondent did not attend
Ms Hannah Markham Q.C. (instructed by Cafcass Legal) for the 2nd Respondent
Crown Copyright ©
Mrs Justice Theis DBE:
(1) It was unreasonable for Z to pursue his declaration, the matter was put in issue four months prior to his application in the exchange of correspondence between solicitors. Even after Z's application for a declaration Y's solicitor made the same points in their letter dated 23 December, and at the hearings in February and April. Despite those representations made on behalf of Y, Z continued with his application until the letter dated 9 June, and it was not until 21 June that he conceded he did not have parental responsibility for X.
(2) The issue of who had parental responsibility for X was important in the context of the wider proceedings concerning her and Z's delay in conceding the issue until 21 June was unreasonable.
(1) In the period of April – May 2015 Y entered into a parental responsibility agreement with the surrogate mother, and Z and the surrogate mother entered into a further SPPRA. These were done with the intention of conferring parental responsibility on Y and Z as a matter of English law.
(2) Before Y and Z separated Z sent the documents to the Central Family Court ('CFC') for registration. Y's position, as is recorded in the recital of the order dated 28 June 2017, is that this was done without his knowledge or consent.
(3) The CFC initially registered the SPPRA, but not Y's parental responsibility agreement in October/November 2015. When made aware of the CFC's failure to register Y's parental responsibility agreement the CFC registered Y's agreement with the same date of the registration of the SPPRA.
(4) The issue of parental responsibility for X only came to light in June 2016 after Y's solicitors informed Z's solicitors that X had, unbeknown to Z, been the subject of a second parent adoption in New York. Z reasonably believed he had parental responsibility as he had received notification from the CFC that his SPPRA had been registered.
(5) Z made it clear in his letter dated 9 June 2017 he was withdrawing his application making it clear that in doing so it was to save costs.
Discussion and Decision