Birth registration and parental responsibility: a discussion paper

28 June 2007

On 26 June 2007 the UK government proposed an important change in legislation so that more fathers sign the birth certificate. 18% of unmarried fathers do not sign the birth certificate in the UK (which is 7% of all fathers). This means that just under 45,000 children each year in the UK have no registered father at birth. In Australia, the rate of mother-only birth registrations is half that in UK – so we know there is room for change.

Birth registration:

  • Records the parentage of the child. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that each child has the right, as far as possible, to know his or her parents (Article 7).
  • Confers “Parental Responsibility” on the parent, giving the parent the legal authority to make important decisions in relation to caring for the child.

Our paper, Birth Registration and Parental Responsibility, presents an analysis of the current situation, and identifies some of the costs and benefits of the government’s taking a more pro-active stance towards encouraging fathers’ names to be on their children’s birth certificates. The paper also outlines the rights currently conferred by Parental Responsibility.

To read this paper right click on Birth Registration and Parental Responsibility under RELATED DOCUMENTS (below), choose ‘Save Target As…’ and the pdf should download quickly.

Birth registration and parental responsibility