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Charedi transgender parent wins appeal over access to children

Court rules that direct contact with father is in 'best interests' of children

    The Appeal Court has overruled a previous legal decision to prevent a transgender Charedi father from having face to face contact with her children.

    In a significant judgment published today, the court ruled that “the best interests of these children seen in the medium to longer term is in more contact with their father if that can be achieved.

    “So strong are the interests of the children in the eyes of the law that the courts must, with respect to the learned judge, persevere. As the law says in other contexts, ‘never say never’. To repeat, the doors should not be closed at this early stage in their lives.”

    In January of this year, a family court in Manchester ruled that the transgender parent should not have direct contact with her five children, aged three to thirteen, because of fears that the children would be marginalised or excluded from the Charedi community. Indirect contact, such as writing to the children on their birthday, was permitted.

    However, the new judgment means that the case will now be sent back to the family court, where it will be heard again by a different judge, who will need to take into account the Appeal Court's recommendation that direct contact between the father and her children be established.

    Alison Ball, QC, the lawyer for the father, told the JC that although she had not spoken to her client since the judgment, she was “perfectly sure from knowing her quite well that she will be very delighted and will do her utmost to make this work".

    KeshetUK, which promotes LGBT equality within the Jewish community, welcomed the decision.

    “No child should be denied a parent's love simply because their parent is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and no child should ever be forced to choose between their family and their community,” the group said.

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