Media can report historic surrogacy case
A significant High Court ruling means the media can report part of a landmark family law action about whether the genetic parents of two small children born to a surrogate mother may be listed as the children’s parents on their birth certificates.
The Irish Times, Irish Independent and Sunday Times applied to be permitted to report the case without identifying the parties but the Attorney General and General Registrar of Births opposed the application on grounds of the rights of the children.
The genetic parents indicated they would not object to reporting if strict restrictions preserved their anonymity.
Mr Justice Henry Abbott, who described the case as of “serious public importance”, permitted designated reporters from the three newspapers, plus High Court reporter Aodhan O’Faolain, to report the case on a restricted basis.
The ruling means only the legal issues and limited evidence may be reported but not the evidence of the genetic parents and surrogate mother.
The surrogate mother supports the couple being registered as parents on the children’s birth certificates but the Attorney General and General Registrar of Births oppose it.
The case, brought under the Status of Children Act 1987 and the Guardianship of Infants Act 1954, opened on Monday and is continuing.
The 2004 Civil Liability and Courts Act provides that prescribed persons may apply for permission to cover family law cases (of which any reporting is normally prohibited) but the Attorney General said journalists were not prescribed persons and that view was agreed with by the Department of Justice.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Abbott revised his ruling of last Monday which had excluded the media.