- N V Lowe, N V LoweEmeritus Professor of Law at Cardiff University
- G Douglas, G DouglasProfessor of Law at King’s College London
- E HitchingsE HitchingsProfessor in Family Law at University of Bristol
- and R TaylorR TaylorAssociate Professor of Law at University of Oxford and Fellow in Law at Exeter College, Oxford
This chapter charts the changing legal position of children. It starts by considering the former importance of the status of legitimacy and its near complete abolition. It then discusses the changing nature of the parent–child relationship and the development of the law from paternal authority to shared parental responsibility. Finally the chapter considers the developing notion of children’s autonomy and independent rights which has both limited the scope of legitimate parental authority and emphasised that the interests of children are a matter of public, as well as private, concern. This latter point is well illustrated by the growing importance of the role of the Children’s Commissioner.