Each year, Big Voice London (a project supported by the UK Supreme Court and Law Commission) runs a model Law Commission in which sixth form students go through various stages of considering a proposal to change the law, including consulting experts, writing a report, and presenting this report to Parliament. This year, the chosen family law topic was surrogacy.
The NGA team was invited to participate in the project as surrogacy experts, helping the students consider whether legally recognised (and compensated) surrogacy should be supported in the UK, what type of law or regulation should be put in place, whether different systems should be introduced for traditional and gestational surrogacy, and whether surrogacy agreements should be legally recognised. Melissa Elsworth (NGA paralegal) gave a presentation to students and later took part in a question and answer session. The team then engaged in a lively Twitter debate on the issues (see #BVLlawchat). In December, the Model Law Commission presented its recommendations in Parliament, which were:
* Parentage from birth – The intended parents should be able to obtain a pre-birth order, making them the parents of their child from birth
* Partially enforceable agreements – The finances of the surrogacy should be enforceable by contract, but the family court should still decide arrangements for the child if there is any dispute about the child’s welfare
* Partial commercialisation – The law should allow surrogates to be paid for their labour, but surrogacy agencies should remain non-profit
* Regulation – There should be regulations for surrogacy agencies to make sure surrogates are supported and screened.
You can read the excellent report in full online.
As many of you will know, we are passionate about campaigning for better law to support ethical surrogacy in the UK. There was certainly an appetite for change among the students at Big Voice London, most of whom had not considered these issues before, and we hope that the project will help put the issue on the map for real with the Law Commission and Parliament.Big Voice London, Brilliant Beginnings, domestic surrogacy law, international surrogacy law, Law Commission, Melissa Elsworth, Parliament, Supreme Court, surrogacy law, Surrogacy law reform