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Registering a birth in a pandemic lockdown

Solicitors in London

Registering a birth in a pandemic lockdown

News article published on: 1st April 2020

I have recently advised a client on the registration of a baby’s birth during our current lockdown.

In normal circumstances, the birth of any child in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days of the child being born. Failure to do so attracts a fine of £200. The Government website  provides full details about who can register the birth and how, in normal circumstances.

However, as we all know, these are unprecedented circumstances, and you are advised to check online with the local office in which you intend to register the birth.

Registering a birth in Camden

Camden Register Office offers helpful advice as follows:

Camden Register Office has suspended Birth registration until further notice in line with advice from Government and the General Register Office. Registrations will start again after the pandemic is over. Please note we have been informed by the General Register Office that you can now make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered. The 42 days legal requirement is not valid during the pandemic.  

Registering a birth in Islington

Islington Register Office offers more limited advice as follows:

Islington Register Office is now closed for all services, apart from to register a death by phone. This means we cannot take any bookings in person, by phone or online to register a birth, give notice of a marriage or civil partnership, or book a marriage, civil partnership or citizenship ceremony. 

Impact of delayed registration for unmarried fathers

The inability to register the child’s birth has far reaching implications for an unmarried father. Until he is named on the birth certificate, the only way he can acquire parental responsibility is by:

  1. Becoming married to the mother,
  2. Obtaining a court order, or
  3. Signing a Parental responsibility agreement.

Parental Responsibility Agreements have to be witnessed by a court official, and you will need to contact your local court to see if this can be done during the pandemic.

Please note: This blog is for information only and Osbornes Law can accept no legal responsibility to the reader for the information provided.

Blog post written by Martin Ross, partner in the Family Law team

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