Conflicting interests and human rights
Conflicting interests and human rights

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Conflicting interests and human rights
  • The welfare of more than one child
  • Conflicting interests and human rights

The welfare of more than one child

In situations where the welfare of two children who have conflicting interests is inextricably linked, the court must decide whether the welfare principle applies in favour of one or other of the children or neither of them. This question may arise where the application for an order is made by a child or involving siblings.

Child-parents

Cases arise where the applicant for contact with a child is themself a child. The court is faced with determining whose welfare is paramount.

The leading case concerned an application by a 15-year-old mother for contact with her baby son, both of whom were the subject of care orders, while the local authority sought permission to refuse contact. The House of Lords held that the paramountcy principle applied to the son as he was the object of the application and it was his upbringing and not the mother's that was in issue.

In a subsequent case involving a 17-year-old mother who appealed against the making of a care order in relation to her baby, the court held that the correct approach was to identify which child was the subject of the application and which child it was whose welfare was directly involved. In that