What is Parental Responsibility (PR)?

Parental Responsibility (PR) means that the person concerned has all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law (as defined in the Children Act 1989). Where a child’s parents were married to each other at the time of the child’s birth, each parent will have PR for the child. However, if a child’s parents are not married to each other, the mother shall automatically have PR over the child. Where the parents are not married to each other, the father will acquire PR if he acts with the mother to have his name recorded on the child’s birth registration after 1st December 2003.  

An unmarried father will not be able to claim PR unless he acquires it by: Obtaining a court order. Registering a legally written agreement subject to the mother’s consent. Marriage to the child’s mother. Being granted a residence order. Having his name on the child’s birth certificate (only applicable to births registered after December 2003).  

Persons other than parents may acquire PR by appointment as a guardian or by an order of the court. The latter means either a Care Order or an Interim Care Order granted to the Local Authority. Hence a designated representative of the Local Authority may have PR and may authorise the collection of a DNA samples without reference to the mother or alleged father. If the Local Authority will be consenting on behalf of a child, then we would expect to see a copy of any Care Order or Interim Care Order (plus any renewals). 

Helpful information regarding who may have Parental Responsibility can be found here.