HL Deb 10 July 2001 vol 626 c70WA
Lord Quirk

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With respect to Section 2 of the Children Act 1989, what are the duties and responsibilities of fathers; and where these are set out for public information. [HL80]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)

The Children Act 1989 does not define the responsibilities of fathers specifically, but Section 3(1) defines parental responsibility as all the "rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property". The Act does not set out the content of these rights, duties, powers and responsibilities.

Although the Law Commission Report on Guardianship and Custody (1988 Law Comm. No 172), on which the Children Act was based, specifically recognised the practical impossibility of providing a list of what might constitute parental responsibility, familiar components in law of "parental responsibility" include to name, to provide a home, to have contact, to protect and maintain, to discipline, to determine and provide for education, to determine religion and to provide consent for medical treatment.