le procureur général près la cour d’appel de Rennes et autres v. M. X. (Attorney General at the Court of Appeal of Rennes and other v. Mr X)
Cour de cassation – Première chambre civile (Supreme Court – First Civil Chamber)
13 September 2013
Article 3: Best interests of the child
Other International Provisions:
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 8: Right to respect for private and family life
Civil Code, Articles 16-7 and 16-9 (surrogacy agreements void), 47 ( recognition of foreign civil status documents unless fraudulent), 332 (legitimation of a child), and 336 (acknowledgment of the father)
Code of Civil Procedure, Articles 423 (authority of public prosecutor), and 455 (requirements of court judgment)
Twins were born to an Indian surrogate mother in India, where surrogacy is legal. The twins were issued Indian birth certificates. The French biological father of the twins requested to have the birth certificates transcribed in the French Civil register, which was denied. The father applied to the High Court of Nantes (trial court), which ordered transcription. The public Prosecutor appealed. The Court of Appeal of Rennes upheld the trial court and validated the transcription of the twins’ birth certificates to the French Civil Register, granting them French civil status. The Attorney General appealed this decision to the Supreme Court.
Issue and resolution:
Recognition of paternity and birth registration. The Supreme Court summarily overturned the decision of the Court of Appeals of Rennes.
For the Court’s reasoning in this case, please see the CRIN summary of the sister case, announced concurrently.
Counsel for the family has expressed their intent to immediately appeal this decision to the European Court of Human Rights.
This decision of the Supreme Court overturned the decision by the Court of Appeal of Rennes.
In January 2013, the French Minister of Justice issued an administrative order requiring that civil status (similar to citizenship) be granted to children born to French parents under surrogacy agreements. This was the subject of much debate, and was accused of being invalid on the basis that it improperly circumvented the parliamentary process. This Supreme Court decision directly ignores that administrative order and confirms the position of the Court, expressed in the Mennesson case in 2010, that children born under surrogacy agreements cannot be granted French civil status.
CRIN believes this decision is not consistent with the CRC. Under Article 8, the State has an obligation to protect, and if necessary, re-establish basic aspects of the child’s identity, including their nationality and family ties. In CRIN’s view, the refusal to transcribe the birth certificate and the cancellation of the recognition of paternity violates this Article, and is inconsistent with the best interests of the child principle under Article 3.
Arrêt n° 1091 du 13 septembre 2013 (12-30.138) – Cour de cassation – Première chambre civile – ECLI:FR:CCASS:2013:C101091 (Judgment No 1091 of 13 September 2013 (12-30.138) – Supreme Court – First Civil Chamber – ECLI:FR:CCASS:2013:C101091)
This case summary is provided by the Child Rights International Network for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.