Alexandra Wilks, solicitor in our Family Team acted for the Applicant in the High Court case of MZ and FZ and Ors  EWHC 295 (Fam).
Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC of Doughty Street Chambers, and Chris Barnes of 4 Paper Buildings were instructed. Judgment was published on 26th May 2022.
This is a significant case concerning domestic abuse and private children matters, which ultimately has given rise to the court’s consideration of whether a declaration of incompatibility (pursuant to section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998) should be made by the court, as a result of the lack of remedy available to the Applicant under the Children Act 1989, to apply to remove the married Father’s parental responsibility in circumstances of serious domestic abuse.
The Secretary of State for Justice was also joined to the proceedings as an interested party and participated in the Final Hearing.
All findings of fact sought by the Applicant were made against the Father and the Applicant applied for and was granted significant, substantive orders to curtail the Father's parental responsibility.
On this occasion, the court declined to make a declaration of incompatibility in relation to the lack of remedy available to the Applicant to apply to entirely extinguish the married father’s parental responsibility. The judgment raises significant and interesting issues around parental responsibility and its removal in the context of married and unmarried fathers and highlights the wider public interest issues that arise.