The Law Commissions' Consultation on Surrogacy

Closes 11 Oct 2019

Chapter 6: The parental order procedure

8. Consultation Question 1:

We invite consultees’ views as to whether, in England and Wales:

(1)          all international surrogacy arrangements should continue to be automatically allocated to a judge of the High Court; and

We invite consultees’ views as to whether, in England and Wales:

(2)          if international surrogacy arrangements are not automatically allocated to a judge of the High Court, circuit judges should be ticketed to hear such cases.

9. Consultation Question 2:

We invite consultees’ views as to whether, in respect of England and Wales:

(1)          domestic surrogacy cases which continue to require a post-birth parental order should continue to be heard by lay justices, or whether they should be allocated to another level of the judiciary; and

(2)          If consultees consider that such cases should be allocated to another level of the judiciary, which level of the judiciary would be appropriate.

10. Consultation Question 3: We invite consultees to provide any evidence that would support either the retention of the current allocation rules, or their reform along the lines that we discuss in Consultation Questions 1 and 2.
11. Consultation Question 4:

We provisionally propose that, in England and Wales, the court should be placed under a duty to consider whether to make an order awarding the intended parents parental responsibility at the first directions hearing in the proceedings.

Do consultees agree?

(Note that this provisional proposal would be necessary only if our provisional proposal in Chapter 8 that all intended parents (whether in the new pathway or not) automatically acquire parental responsibility if the child is living with or being cared for by them is not supported by consultees).

12. Consultation Question 5: We provisionally propose that the rule currently contained in rule 16.35(5) of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 should be reversed, so that a parental order report is released to the parties in the proceedings by default, unless the court directs otherwise. Do consultees agree?
13. Consultation Question 6:

We invite consultees’ views as to whether they are of the view that, in Scotland:

(1)          there is a need for greater consistency and clarity in provisions relating to the expenses of curators ad litem and reporting officers and, if so, how this should be addressed;

(2)          it should be provided by statute that, at the initial hearing or any subsequent hearing for a parental order, the court may make any such interim order or orders for parental responsibilities and parental rights as it sees fit; and/or

(3)          further procedural reform is needed and, if so, what that reform should be.