Publication of the week: Professor Susan Edwards

9 February 2015

Edwards, S., “‘Ethnicity’ matters in adoption and child custody: Part 1: some conceptual considerations”, Family Law (Jan 2015), 52-58

This article examines the consideration of ‘ethnicity’ in custody arrangements and disputes within the jurisdiction of the UK and also between jurisdictions, exploring particularly the way in which ‘ethnicity’ has been politically nuanced as a standard bearer for cultural relativism and cultural pluralism. One of the main questions being asked at this time is whether the Children and Families Act 2014, s 3 which repeals the Adoption and Children Act 2002, s 1(5) requirement to give due consideration to religious persuasion, racial origin, cultural and linguistic background in the determination of adoption placements, has relegated these several considerations when considering the welfare of the child or else merely repositioned these factors. Parliament, in introducing this new legislation, has for the first time used the term ‘ethnicity’ – ‘Repeal of ethnicity requirement’ – which appears in the headline of the statutory provision itself. However, the term ‘ethnicity’ is found neither in the 2002 Act nor in the Children Act 1989, s 22(5)(c) requires consideration of ‘religion, race, cultural and linguistic background’ when placing children in care or accommodating them.

The full text of the article is available on University computers via Jordan Publishing.

Susan Edwards is a researcher and campaigner and a barrister (Door Tenant, 1 Grays Inn Square, London). She is an expert witness and member of the Expert Witness Institute.  She is Acting Dean of Law at Buckingham, and editor of the Denning Law Journal.