Jennifer Lee, led by Will Tyler KC, acted for the applicant (Ms R) in this highly complex and extraordinary case, which raises important jurisdictional and human rights issues.
The key question is whether the English Court has jurisdiction to consider applications by Ms R in respect of her children, conceived via assisted reproduction with her female ex-partner (Ms T), in circumstances where no other court in the world is able to determine questions about the children’s welfare.
The parties and the children are British. When the parties separated, Ms T relocated with the children to the UAE, where same-sex relationships are criminalised and where same-sex parenting is not recognised. The children’s contact with Ms R has been completely suspended.
The High Court has determined that it has no jurisdiction, despite accepting that no application could be made in the UAE, and there is no other forum in the world available to investigate or determine the children’s welfare. The decision has far-reaching implications for other English children of same-sex families living around the world.
Jennifer Lee and Will Tyler KC were instructed, pro bono, by Byron James of Expatriate Law.
The reported judgment is available here.