Freddy McConnell’s Case To Be Heard Today
A transgender man begins his battle in the Court of Appeal today (4 March) to be legally recognised as the father of the child he gave birth to.
Freddy McConnell, who is legally recognised as a man through a Gender Recognition Certificate, gave birth to his child in 2018. Current law requires that the birth parent is always to be regarded as the mother of the child even if that parent is, as in this case, legally recognised as a man.
The High Court rejected his argument to be registered as the father or parent of the child in September last year, ruling that being a mother was about the physical act of pregnancy and giving birth – even if the person was a male in law. The case marked the first legal definition of a mother in common law.
As the case returns to the courts, the highly publicised issue will bring Freddy’s plight into the spotlight once more – and experts at leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell say his supporters believe that recognising the breach of human rights would be the ideal outcome.
Expert Opinion“Today the Court of Appeal will hear this landmark case with Freddy McConnell, looking to be recognised as the legal father of his child.
“The High Court decision was hugely disappointing, but the Court of Appeal offers an opportunity to accurately acknowledge the relationship between Freddy and his child, and thus for the law to be on the right side of history when it comes to transgender rights.
“The current argument used to resist change in the law is seemingly to allow transgender people to assume rights in their acquired legal gender only in some circumstances. It is a piecemeal approach and extremely problematic.
“The transgender community will be looking at this case as a measure in how the law understands their needs and fundamental rights; a cherry-picking policy simply cannot be endorsed going forward, and the courts should recognise this when they hear the case.
“At the crux of the story are a man and his child wishing to have the family life that reflects their personal reality – to not have this basic right is a tragedy and one we must rectify in law.” Scott Halliday - Senior Associate