The AIRE Centre, assisted by Ms Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon), a partner at Dawson Cornwell Solicitors and the representative of the International Academy of Family Lawyers at the Parentage / Surrogacy Project of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, has submitted a written intervention in the case of Fjölnisdóttir and others v Iceland (Application No. 71552/17) before the European Court of Human Rights. This case relates to the legal recognition of parentage in international surrogacy arrangements.
Our intervention does not deal with the facts of this specific case but instead sets out the international and european legal background to surrogacy. In particular, we call on the Court to ensure that the best interests of the child are accorded, at a minimum, the primacy that is set out in Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in any decision on legal parentage. Article 53 ECHR states that the ECHR should not be construed in a way which derogates from any other human rights agreements to which the contracting states are a party. Consequently, due weight must be attributed to the CRC when reviewing domestic decisions for compliance with the ECHR.
The intervention draws on the work already carried out by the AIRE Centre on surrogacy in relation to the Court's first Advisory Opinion and the Law Commission and Scottish Law Commission's Joint Consultation Paper on surrogacy. The AIRE Centre is also awaiting a decision in relation to our request to intervene in another surrogacy case, A.M. v. Norway (Application No. 30254/18) before the Court.
This case represents an opportunity for the Court to contribute to the ongoing discussions at an international level on the appropriate regulation of international surrogacy arrangements and in particular the Hague Conference on Private International Law's efforts to draft an international instrument in this field. It is hoped that the AIRE Centre's submissions will assist the Court in this regard.
Read the full intervention here.