High Court of Australia
1: Masson v Parsons [2019] HCA 21 |
Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Assisted Reproduction, Biological Father, Biological Mother, Birth Mother, Parentage, Parental Rights, Same Sex Parents, Same Sex Relationship, Sperm Donation, With whom a child spends time with
Judges:  Bell JEdelman JGageler JGordon JKeane JKiefel CJNettle J


Background: Mr Masson had donated his genetic material in 2006 in a private, personal insemination to his friend of about 25 years, named under a pseudonym as Susan Parsons. Mr Masson agreed on the understanding he would help as a parent, provide financial support and physical care. He is named as the girl’s father on her birth certificate. He was actively involved in the life and care of the girl and her younger sister, with both calling him “Daddy”, court documents show. Issues arose when the mother and her partner, Margaret, tried to take the girls, then aged 10 and 9, to live in New Zealand, where the couple married in 2015.  
 
  [Legal Issue]Mr Masson’s lawyers argued that, under the Commonwealth law, Mr Masson should be the parent, as he is the biological father and was involved in the child’s life. He had donated his genetic material in 2006 in a private, personal insemination to his friend of about 25 years, named under a pseudonym as Susan Parsons. Mr Masson was at first successful in fighting their move overseas, but the Parsons appealed before a full court of the Family Court, which agreed with the women that he was not a legal parent. They successfully argued that the laws in most of the states rule out a sperm donor from being a father and that Mr Masson was therefore not a parent. Mr Masson appealed to the High Court where the case was heard in April. He argued that the Commonwealth law should apply   [Court Orders]The High Court has found a man who donated his sperm to a lesbian friend to have a child is the father, due to his involvement in the child’s life.     


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Blood Transfusions, Cancer, Medical, Parens Patriae, Parental Responsibility, Parental Rights, Religious Beliefs, Special Medical Procedure
Judges:  White J


Background: A 10 year-old South Australian boy was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer that doctors feared would spread throughout his entire body if not treated with an intense 39-week regime of chemotherapy and surgery. The speed of that process would not have allow his blood cells time to regenerate, require blood transfusions so that the chemotherapy can continue to be effective. In a statement read to the court, the boy said transfusions carried spiritual consequences. "The doctors have told me I might die and I don't want to - but I don't want blood," he said. "The blood will change me... when you take blood, you are taking someone else's life. "I really don't want this and my heart is ripping apart." On May 10, doctors discovered a tumour in his left leg. The boy co 
 
  [Legal Issue]The hospital asked the Supreme Court of South Australia to invoke its power of parens patriae, allowing it to look after those incapable of looking after themselves, in order to rule on behalf of the child in this dilemma between religious beliefs and the very real risk of death if a blood transfusion was not permitted, despite the child's parents objections to the blood transfusion.   [Court Orders]In a South Australian legal first, the Supreme Court gave the Women's and Children's Hospital the right to give a 10-year-old boy - a member of the Jehovah's Witness faith - transfusions as part of his cancer treatment, despite the objections from the boy's family. The decision, in line with similar rulings from around the world, paves the way for hospitals to take action in future debates with religious parents.     


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Appeal, Biological Mother, Birth Mother, Contravention, Meaningful Relationship, Non-Parent, Parentage, Parental, Parental Rights, Parenting Orders, Relocation, Same Sex Parents, Same Sex Relationship, Step Parent
Judges:  Coleman JJarrett FMMay JWarnick J


Background: Two women had lived in an intimate relationship for 9 years and two children were born during this time using IVF, with each woman being the biological parent of one child (same sex relationship). One woman then left the relationship taking her birth child with her. Orders were issued for the two children to spend significant time with the other woman and to see their sibling. One woman then relocated further away making the order impractical and the other woman appealed arguing that the first woman was not facilitating an ongoing meaningful relationship between her and the child whom she considered that she had parented.  
 
  [Legal Issue]Each woman claimed to be a parent of the other’s child, although the trial judge found to the contrary as only a biological parent or an adoptive parent meets the legal definition of being a parent. Both women submitted that each child regarded each of the women as a mother. The Appeal Court found that if a child is born by an artificial conception procedure while the woman is married to a man and the procedure is carried out with the joint consent of both adults, then the child is their child for the purposes of the Act, or both the woman and man are parents of the child. The Appeal Court supported the ruling by the trial judge that the women were not parents of the child whom they did not give birth to (non-parent). The appeal was dismissed.   [Court Orders]The Appeal Court supported the ruling by the trial judge that the women were not parents of the child whom they did not give birth to (non-parent). The appeal was dismissed.     


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