Considering the Best Interests Test in the Context of Disabilities
(2016) 5 Oxford University Undergraduate Law Journal 67-79
Posted: 8 Dec 2016 Last revised: 31 May 2017
Date Written: December 7, 2016
The United Kingdom is bound by several international obligations to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities, chief among these being the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’), which was ratified on 8 June 2009. Compliance with these obligations is secured at the domestic level through provisions such as those in the Equality Act 2010 (‘EA 2010’). However, parents with disabilities remain exceptionally vulnerable to losing the care and custody of their children under care orders and child arrangements orders. Thus, in 2006 the Social Care Institute for Excellence conducted a knowledge review which found that social workers and local authorities were, where these goals conflicted, less interested in keeping families with disabled members intact than in safeguarding children. These observations raise an important question: how should the law balance the best interests of children with the duty of the State to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities?
Keywords: Family Law, Disabilities Law, Best Interest Test
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