The significance of status and genetics in succession to titles, honours, dignities and coats of arms: Making the case for reform

Gillian Black, Sir Crispin Agnew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The significant evolution in family law in the last four decades has seen the breaking down of traditional barriers: illegitimacy has been swept away, and children conceived through assisted reproduction are now recognised as the legal children of their parents, even absent a genetic link. Transgender heirs are also fully recognised. in their new gender. Yet fundamental exceptions remain in the case of succession to titles, honours, dignities and coats of arms, discriminating against children born out of marriage, or non-genetic children, or transgender children. The decision of the Privy Council in Pringle of Stichill emphasised this divergence, and raised the question of whether law reform is needed. In this article, we explore the rules which govern succession to titles and dignities and the two-tier system which has arisen. By pointing out the inconsistencies and lack of rationale therefore, we make the case for law reform to bring titles and dignities into line with the current understanding of family and succession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-348
JournalCambridge Law Journal
Volume77
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • family law
  • succession
  • titles
  • honours
  • heraldry
  • legitiamacy
  • illegitimate
  • assisted conception
  • surrogacy
  • transgender
  • sex discrimination
  • law reform

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