In re B (a child) (Residence Order) Supreme Court  UKSC 5; TLR 23 November
The significance of parenthood in private law disputes about residence and contact has exercised many courts over many years.
The judgment of Lady Hale in
In re G (Children) (Residence: Same-sex partner)  1WLR 2305 might be thought to have been the final word on the subject but misunderstandings about the true import
of that decision persisted. In the present case the judge on appeal from the family proceedings court had failed to concentrate
on the factor of paramount importance: the welfare of the child. To talk in terms of child’s rights, as opposed to his best
interest, diverted from the focus that the child’s welfare should occupy in the minds of those called on to make decisions
as to residence. Although Lord Nicholls had said in
In re G , that ‘a child should not be removed from the primary care of his/her biological parents without compelling reason’ he had
not propounded any general rule to that effect. Lord Nicholls’ comment about the rearing of a child by a biological parent
was set firmly in the context of the child’s welfare. That had to be the dominant in overriding factor that ultimately determined
disputes about residence and contact. There could be no dilution of its importance by reference to extraneous matters.
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