Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 68 - Illegitimacy

Project No. 68

Commenced: 1976
Deferred: 1982
Withdrawn: 1986

In 1977, following preliminary research, the Commission considered the law relating to proof of paternity and decided that the topic would also cover the father’s rights in situations: (a) where he seeks custody or access in respect of the child, including his rights in the case where the child’s custodian has died; (b) where he seeks to have some control of the child’s upbringing but without claiming custody; (c) where the child is to be adopted; and (d) where he seeks a share in his deceased child’s estate.

Terms of Reference

In 1976 the Commission was given a reference to consider and report on the rights of putative fathers in relation to their illegitimate children ... (The project was initially titled Rights of Fathers of Illegitimate Children.)

In 1978 the project was renamed Illegitimacy and the terms of reference were expanded when the Attorney General requested that they include ‘whether the law should be amended so as to remove all or any of the remaining disabilities of illegitimacy’.

The terms of reference were further amended in 1980 when the Attorney General requested that the Commission also address ‘problems concerning children conceived by artificial insemination procedures, including the position of semen donors and the parents of such children’.


The Attorney General withdrew the reference in 1986 with the issue of legislative jurisdiction unresolved. However, in the interim, many of the problems that had prompted the reference were addressed by amendments to the Adoption of Children Act 1986 (WA) and related legislation.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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