HC Deb 22 February 1977 vol 926 cc518-9W
Mr. Ovenden

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the provisions contained in Acts of Parliament, regulations or rules which are the responsibility of his Department and which afford unequal treatment between an illegitimate and a legitimate child or between the parent of a legitimate child and the parent of an illegitimate child.

Mr. Luard

There is no Act of Parliament, for which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible, which treats the parents of legitimate and illegitimate children differently.

A distinction is made between a legitimate and an illegitimate child or father in:—

1. The Registration of Births and Deaths (Consular Officers) Regulations 1974. References in Regulation 6(1)(i) and (ii) of these regulations to "father" are to the father of a legitimate child. The effect is that the birth of an illegitimate child may not be registered and he is thus debarred from the acquisition of the status of United Kingdom citizen, or British subject as the case may be, which the act of registration can confer.

2. The British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order 1974. In conformity with the stipulations in the British Nationality Acts 1948 to 1965 about legitimate descent, references in the order (—Articles 5, 6, 9, 10, and 12—) to "father" are references to the father of a legitimate or legitimated child but not the father of an illegitimate child. The effect is that only legitimate children can derive the status of British protected person by descent from a father holding that status. Article 12 provides that an illegitimate child may acquire the status of British protected person through his mother.

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