C v C

Posted on 17 January 2020

C v C

C v C [2019] UKPC 40 – Financial provision on basis of parentage upheld even where it was agreed that the appellant was not the biological parent.

X and the child's mother commenced a relationship in or around 2000 in Latvia. The relationship ceased for a period. Upon the child's birth, another man, Z, was registered as the child's father. X and the mother subsequently resumed their relationship. In 2006, X applied in Latvia for a declaration of his paternity of the child and for his registration as the father. Both the mother and Z supported this application, and a declaration was made. In 2010, X and the mother separated and she returned to Latvia with the child. She subsequently applied in Jersey for financial provision for the child. She accepted that X was not the biological father of the child. X utilised this acceptance to seek a revocation of the declaration of parentage in Latvia. However, the Latvian court refused his application. This was on the basis that:           
a) X had not satisfied the court that he was not the natural father (he had not supplied DNA evidence, relying on the acceptance by the mother that he was not the natural father);   
b) he had not satisfied the court that his acknowledgment of paternity had been the result of mistake, fraud or duress; and      
c) he had not satisfied the court that his application for annulment of the registration had been made within 2 years of his discovery of the circumstances precluding his paternity (a requirement in Latvian law).

The Royal Court in Jersey made an order against X that he make financial provision for the boy. X appealed. The Privy Council advised that the appeal be dismissed. The Jersey court had been entitled to make the order in reliance on the Latvian court's declaration applying the principle of jurisdictional reciprocity. The Jersey court had not been required to decide for itself whether X was the child's father. Wilson LJ considered that "Otherwise than by rare reference to public policy, a court’s recognition of a foreign order under private international law does not depend on any arrogant attempt on that court’s part to mark the foreign court’s homework."

Sheena Cassidy Hope notes: "Where there is no relevant convention or specific legislation covering a question of status, the courts may still be reluctant to look behind the competent decision of a foreign court. This may become particularly relevant after Brexit when the current EU Regulations regarding the inter-relationship between EU states will no longer be applicable".

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