Publication of the week: Professor Susan Edwards

5 February 2018

Edwards, S., “Unconnecting worlds: negotiating faith, culture and gender”.  J v B and The Child AB,  Fam Law  (January 2018) 56

When considering the welfare of the child in both in private and public law disputes the family courts are increasingly presented with diverse and complex factual circumstances of faith, culture, custom, gender and sexual identity.  All of which are considerations for the court where applications for child arrangement orders (CAOs) including residence, contact, specific issues and prohibited steps, involving,  for example, education, circumcision, faith and other cultural / religious practice in life and death are being decided.

This article considers the challenges presented by these several features in recent case law in child matters concluding with a summary of the courts finding  in two recent cases raising in one the spectre of ‘unconnecting worlds’ (J v B (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4, [2018] FLR (forthcoming) as ultra-orthodox Judaic faith intersects  and conflicts with transgender and, in the other, a child foster placement case (The Child AB: Case Management Order – No. 7 [2017] EWFC B53), presented by the media as a ‘clash of civilisations’ where a child described as Christian and the carer presented as a fundamentalist Muslim, were the object of inaccurate and sensationalised reporting.