family court

MASSON AND PARSONS & ORS [2019] HCA 21

Constitutional law (Cth) – Courts – Federal courts – Federal jurisdiction – Matter arising under Commonwealth law – Where Commonwealth law provides rules in respect of parentage of children born of artificial conception procedures – Where State law provides irrebuttable presumption that biological father of child conceived by fertilisation procedure is not father in specified circumstances – Whether s 79(1) of Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) operates to pick up and apply text of State law as Commonwealth law – Whether State law regulates exercise of jurisdiction – Whether Commonwealth law has "otherwise provided" within meaning of s 79(1) of Judiciary Act – Whether tests for contrariety under s 79(1) of Judiciary Act and s 109 of Constitution identical – Whether State law applies of its own force in federal jurisdiction.

Family law – Parenting orders – Meaning of "parent" – Where Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) presumes best interests of child served by shared parental responsibility – Where s 60H of Family Law Act provides rules in respect of parentage of children born of artificial conception procedures – Where appellant provided semen to first respondent to conceive child with belief that he was fathering child – Where appellant had ongoing role in child's financial support, health, education and general welfare and enjoyed extremely close and secure attachment relationship with child – Where first respondent later in de facto relationship with second respondent – Where appellant found to be "parent" within ordinary meaning of word but not under s60H – Whether s60H exhaustive of persons who may qualify as "parent" of child born of artificial conception procedure – Whether "parent" used in Family Law Act according to ordinary meaning except as otherwise provided – Whether appellant is "parent" within ordinary meaning – Whether ordinary meaning of "parent" excludes "sperm donor" – Whether appellant is "sperm donor".

Constitution, s 109.
Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), ss 4, 60B, 60EA, 60G, 60H, 61D, 61DA. Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth), s 79(1).
Status of Children Act 1996 (NSW), Pt 3 Div 1.

Michelle McMahon, Dr James Stellios led by Brett Walker SC represented the first and second respondents.

Reasons for the decisions can be found here.