From Good Intentions to Ethical Outcomes: The Paramountcy of Children’s Interests in the Family Law Act

Jonathan Crowe, Lisa Toohey

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The notion of the ‘best interests of the child’ plays a central role in Australian family law.Section 60CA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), as amended in 2006, reiterates the longstanding principle that, in making a parenting order, ‘a court must regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration’. The Australian judiciary has adopted a strong interpretation of the paramountcy principle, according to which the interests of children prevail absolutely over the interests of all other parties. The authors argue that such a strong emphasis on children’s interests cannot be ethically justified; only a weak view of the paramountcy principle can be supported on ethical grounds.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)391-414
Number of pages24
JournalMelbourne University Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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