Leading cases

biscuit in a pail


Our most high profile and significant cases

Changing the law on surrogacy for single parents - We took a test case to the Family Court to challenge discrimination against single parents. We first asked the court to grant a parental order to a single dad and, when the order was refused (Re Z (a child) (2015)), we sought and won a declaration that the law was incompatible with the Human Rights Act (Re Z (No.2) (2016)). This pushed Parliament to change the law via a remedial order which came into effect in January 2019, giving single parents through surrogacy the same rights as couples. Read more about the story.

The parents who sought to conceive a grandchild using their deceased daughter's frozen eggs - In a 'world first' case which attracted media attention across the globe and front page national headlines in the UK, we successfully represented bereaved parents fighting for the right to export their late daughter's eggs abroad to try and conceive a grandchildren (M v HFEA (2016, Court of Appeal) andM v HFEA (2015)). Read more about the story.

The gay dads who won custody of their daughter - In a high-profile High Court decision (which attracted front page national headlines in the UK), we successfully represented a same-sex couple fighting for main care of their 15 month old daughter after, as the court found, her birth mother deceived them about her intentions and retained care following the birth (H v S (Surrogacy Agreement) (2015)). Read more about the story.

The pair of cases which set the path for international surrogacy - In the very first case parental order made after international surrogacy (Re X and Y (foreign surrogacy) 2008), the court found that twins born through surrogacy in the Ukraine had been 'marooned stateless and parentless' and needed protecting with a parental order, even though more than reasonable expenses had been paid to the Ukraine surrogate. Subsequently the court generalised this ruling in a second US surrogacy case by saying that the welfare of the child superseded public policy against commercial surrogacy (Re L (a minor) 2010). These cases are still relied on by the court in every international surrogacy application where more than expenses has been paid to the surrogate or surrogacy agency. Read more about the story.

The case which tested new law for lesbian couples - We represented two mums, named on their son's birth certificate and resisting an application from their known sperm donor for rights of regular father-style contact. The donor won the right to apply to court, attracting a front page national headline about the significance for other donors, although the case ultimately respected the rights of same-sex parents (Re G and Re Z (2013)). Read more about the story.

Other notable reported surrogacy cases

Re X (2020) - After the unexpected death of an intended father during a UK surrogate pregnancy, we represented his widow, winning the first ever parental order applied for posthumously.

F v S (2017) - We obtained a child arrangements order for a single dad through US surrogacy because, at the time, the law still did not allow single parents to be granted parental orders.

Re AB (surrogacy; domicile) (2016) - In a helpful ruling regarding domicile, we represented parents through surrogacy who were originally German and, after living in the UK for a period of time, had returned to live in Germany but nonetheless were found to have sufficient conncetion with the UK to be eligible for a parental order.  

Re A, B and C (2016) - Two fathers of three children born to three UK surrogates had misled the court about the amounts paid, but we subsequently represented them and won parental orders for them. 

Re A (foreign surrogacy: South Africa) (2015) - In the UK's first South African surrogacy case, we won a parental order for a same-sex couple with multiple international homes despite them not having come to the UK during the process.

Re A and B (2015) - Notwithstanding that parental order applications must usually be made within six months of the birth, we successfully obtained parental orders for parents of an 8 and 5 year old born through US surrogacy who had not previously realised they needed to apply. 

CC v DD (2014) - A British mother living long term in France was granted a parental order on the basis of a finding that she had kept her UK domicile of origin.  The case is a helpful one on domicile, often relied on by the court in considering applications from expatriate British parents.

AB v DE (2013) – In the UK's first Russian surrogacy case, we won a parental order for UK parents.

J v G (2013) - Key case on payments for overseas surrogacy, then representing the highest ever payments ever authorised by the UK court.

Re A and B (surrogacy domicile) 2013 – A same-sex couple who were living in the UK but not British were found to have adopted a UK domicile of choice here.  The case is a helpful one on domicile, often relied on by the court in considering applications from non-British parents. 

Re D and L (surrogacy) 2012 - Key surrogacy case on consent, in which the court made a parental order even though the Indian surrogate had not given formal agreement, on the basis that she could not be found.  

Re IJ (a child) 2011 – One of the earliest international surrogacy cases, highlighting the legal complications of surrogacy in the Ukraine.

Other notable sperm donation cases

Re C (declaration of parentage written consent) (2019) - We secured legal parenthood for a non-birth lesbian mother following an acrimonious separation.  The court ruled that she was a legal parent, notwithstanding that she had not signed the correct parentage forms at the fertility clinic.

Re P (2018) EWFC 74 (Fam)  - We obtained a declaration of parentage for a lesbian couple whose parentage was put at risk by errors at their fertility clinic.

Re AD to AH (2017) No. 1 and No. 2 - The President of the High Court Family Division gave important guidance on the court's approach to declarations of parentage in sperm donation cases, creating a clear process for others to follow. We fought for this after representing five lesbian couples whose parenthood was put at risk by errors at their fertility clinics.

Re P (and others) (2017)  - We represented two fathers through sperm donation whose legal status  was jeopardised by incorrect fertility clinic paperwork. The President of the High Court Family Division made declarations of parentage securing their status.

Mark Langridge (2012) - High-profile case in which a sperm donor who donated privately to a lesbian couple in 1998 was pursued by the CSA for maintenance more than a decade later.

Andy Bathie (2008) - Fireman Andy Bathie donated his sperm to a lesbian couple, and was subsequently pursued for maintenance by the CSA. The case had international news coverage in January 2008 and Natalie was named as The Times' Lawyer of the Week.

Other notable cases concerning stored embryos

Melanie and Robert Gladwin (2009) - High-profile embryo storage case by parents seeking to save their embryos from destruction, winning a change to the law permitting storage beyond five years.