We wrote back in January last year about a case where Mr Justice Peter Jackson (now in the Court of Appeal) had ruled against direct contact between children raised in an ultra-orthodox (Charedi) Jewish community and their transgender father, in essence because in light of the likely community ramifications it would not be in their best interests. You can read our original post here : Transgender v ultra-Orthodox Jewish community?
Just before Christmas the Court of Appeal overturned that decision, saying that Jackson J had
been wrong to allow [not dealt properly with relevance of*] the predicted unlawful and discriminatory behaviour of the ultra-orthodox community to dictate the question of contact – and that there was no discernable logic to permitting indirect contact as this may well give rise to the same sorts of issues that had led the judge to deny face to face contact. You can read the Court of Appeal’s judgment here.
We’d wanted to write this up before now, but in fact the excellent Rights Info have beaten us to it, and they’ve done a great job of explaining why the Court of Appeal said Jackson J got it wrong. He had not focused enough on the human rights and discrimination angle to the case, and whether the orthodox community liked it or not these children had a father who was living as a woman. The case is a reminder that in making decisions about children the court itself has a duty to act as far as possible in ways which are compatible with human rights, including protection from discrimination. Read the Rights Info post here : Court of Appeal Overturns Decision Denying Trans Parent Contact With Children.
There may in due course be a further judgment as the case has been sent back for a re-hearing by a fresh judge. If and when there is we will report further.
*words in [square brackets] and struck through amended on 5 Feb.
Feature pic : worlds apart by Yosef Silver on Flickr – thank you!