Diane and Liam shared this story at the Lived Experience Roundtable that BIHR and Liberty held with the Independent Human Rights Act Review Panel. You can read more about this here.

About Diane and Liam

Diane is a widow who was not allowed to record her deceased husband as the father of their two children on their birth certificates. She used the right to private and family life (Article 8) and the right to be free from discrimination (Article 14) to challenge this rule. The decision is unreported but it resulted in Parliament amending the law by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Deceased Fathers) Act 2003. Liam is Diane’s son, who won the right to have his father listed on his birth certificate. The JCHR summarises the case here.

How Diane used the Human Rights Act:

  • Diane has experience of two court cases, before and after the HRA to secure family life rights. The first case enabled Diane to conceive her husband’s child, following his death. She won on EU law, but without the HRA in effect, she was frustrated at the barriers to bringing human rights arguments.
  • Diane argued in the media for the introduction of the HRA, and after it came into effect, she was able to rely on it to ensure that Liam and Joel’s father could be named on their birth certificates.

In Diane’s own words:

“We are all human. Human rights law is the thread running through my life. It unites – or should unite – us all. You never know when you’re going to come to have to rely on it.”

Liam's views on the importance of the Human Rights Act:

  • Having his father on his birth certificate gave him an identity and a sense of who he was.
  • Liam now currently works in education, where he is given mandatory training in, for example, safeguarding and GDPR, but never in human rights. He finds that there is a lack of knowledge and understanding about human rights.

In Liam's own words

“For quite a lot of people, where the Human Rights Act comes into play isn’t necessarily something that they decide upon, it’s something that’s invoked by their circumstances or disability or ethnic group”.