Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 13 - Affiliation proceedings

Project No. 13

Commenced: 1969
Completed: 1970

The reference arose from a perception by legal practitioners that maintenance applications by the mother of a child (where the child was born to unmarried parents) were frequently defeated on the evidence of witnesses for the respondent who testified that they were possible fathers. The Law Society suggested that all witnesses to affiliation proceedings testifying on the part of the respondent be made liable to contribute to the maintenance of the child as possible fathers unless they could be ruled out by scientific or other evidence. The matter was subsequently referred to the Committee for consideration.

Terms of Reference

In 1969 the Committee was given a reference to consider and report on whether, in affiliation cases in which it appears from the evidence that there are two or more putative fathers, it is desirable that the law should provide for:

  1. contribution of maintenance by such persons; or
  2. additional or alternative relief for the mother.


The Married Persons and Children (Summary Relief Act) 1965–1967 was repealed in 1979. However, the Committee’s recommendations were implemented in 1988 by amendment to the Family Court Act 1975 (WA) which provides that when the parentage of a child is in issue in proceedings under the Act, the court may order a 'parentage testing procedure' to determine the parentage of the child.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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