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Children and Family Law Forum 2018


19 October, London
10.00am - 4.15pm (Registration 9.30am)

A comprehensive update on emergent issues in child and family law.

Highlights include:

  • Children's Evidence in Family Proceedings
  • Trans-forming family law
  • Surrogacy: where are we now and where are we going?
  • Deprivation of liberty

Welcome by Children Committee: 10.00 - 10.15

Children’s Evidence in Family Proceedings (10.15 – 11.15)
  • ABEs: initial contact, planning and setting up
  • ABEs: conducting the interview
  • Children’s evidence: the current law
  • Children’s evidence: advocacy and where next?
  • Children meeting judges
Historically, the suggestion that a child should attend a family court to give evidence was treated with incredulity and distrust. March 2010 and the case of Re W (Children) (Family Proceedings: Evidence) [2010] UKSC 12 marked a legal turning point. Gone was the presumption against children giving evidence; instead, what was required was a careful balancing act between the competing articles 6 and 8, ECHR rights. Or so we thought. 8 years on, little has changed. The contrast between the criminal and family justice systems is now sharp: in criminal proceedings, it is thought that some 40,000 children give live evidence each year, including those of a very young age. We, in the family justice system, lag a long way behind. This talk examines this difficult area: what we are doing well, what we are doing badly and where we should go next.

Alex Laing, Coram Chambers

Break: 11.15am-11.30am

'Trans-Forming Family Law' (11.30 – 12.30)
  • Proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004, including debates surrounding self-determination rights
  • The possibility of creating legal frameworks to acknowledge the preferred gender of transgender minors, and possible risks
  • The impact of existing transgender rights on marriage, particularly in the areas of annulment and 'spousal consent'
  • Proposals to recognise gender categories beyond 'male' and 'female' on birth certificates
Peter Dunne, Lecturer in Law at University of Bristol

Lunch: 12.30-13.30

Surrogacy – Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going? (13.30-14.45)

The presentation will examine:

  • Surrogacy case law from the last 12 months
  • The difficulties with the current surrogacy legislation
  • The Law Commission’s review of surrogacy
  • How surrogacy law could/should look in the 21st century

This session will look at the issues that have arisen in surrogacy law in the past twelve months and examine ways in which the legislation could be changed to reflect modern social, moral, and medical practices.

Bianca Jackson, Coram Chambers

Break: 14.45- 15.00

The limits of parental responsibility: Deprivation of liberty & children’s competency (

  • A reminder of the principles of parental responsibility
  • A child’s competency: Gillick competency and the “Fraser guidelines”
  • Deprivation of a child’s liberty – background and key principles
  • The ability of a parent or a child to consent to the deprivation of the child’s liberty
  • The role of the Court
Chris Stevenson, Fourteen Chambers

One day
CPD points:
6.5 hours
£120(members)/ £144 (non-members)
How to book:

Please download and complete the booking form and return with a cheque to or BACS payment.

Any queries please contact Central Office on 020 3841 0300 or


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