12:16, June 23 85 0 theguardian.com

2019-06-23 12:16:10
Man who refused to register son's birth loses high court case

A man who refused to register his son’s birth because he says he does not want him to be controlled by the state has lost a high court case.

Tower Hamlets social services, the London council which has responsibility for the baby’s welfare, asked a high court judge to intervene in the case after the man and his partner, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, failed to register the child’s birth earlier this year.

Mr Justice Hayden ruled the council had the right to step in as the child’s “institutional parent” to register the birth.

The judge considered the issue at a private hearing earlier this month in the family division of the high court in London and outlined his decision in a written ruling published online.

The child, referred to in the case only as T, is currently the subject of a care order while his parents are “subject to a residential assessment”.

The judge was told that the couple’s parenting skills were being assessed before decisions about the boy’s long-term future were made. He also noted that the father’s behaviour towards a judge in the family court resulted in a prison sentence for him and his partner.

Hayden said the couple’s deliberate decision not to register the birth stemmed from the boy’s father’s unusual and somewhat eccentric beliefs about the concept of personal sovereignty. He said the boy’s mother was not prepared to register the birth herself, but was not opposed to somebody else registering it.

He said the father had a genuinely held belief in the power and writ of the individual. The father told the judge: “We are each our own sovereign. We are governed by a common law but only to the extent that we depart from three principles. These three imperatives are: to do no harm; to cause no loss; to inflict no injury.”

The judge said the father regarded registering a birth as the equivalent of making an entry on to a ship’s manifest. He argued that registering the birth would make the child “an asset to the country, which has boarded a vessel to sail on the high seas”.

The judge added the essence of the father’s objection was “his belief that registration will cause his son to become controlled by a state which he perceives to be authoritarian and capricious”.

Hayden pointed out that the 1953 Births and Deaths Registration Act required a birth to be registered within 42 days of a child being born.

He ruled: “It is manifestly in T’s best interest for his birth to be registered, in order that he may be recognised as a citizen and entitled to the benefits of such citizenship.”

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