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In WS (minor) suing by his mother and next friend LY v WS & Ors (Parentage; Substantial connection) [2016] HKFLR 486, the applicant applied through his mother for a declaration of parentage on the basis that the 1st Respondent was his natural father and in law his parent. Before adjudicating upon the issue of parentage, the Hong Kong District Court (HKDC) first had to ascertain whether they can assume jurisdiction over this matter. Under section 6 of the Parent and Child Ordinance (Cap. 429), courts only have jurisdiction to issue a declaration of parentage if the applicant had a substantial connection with Hong Kong at the date of application. This was in issue because the applicant does not live in Hong Kong although he was born here with the right of abode, he resides in Shenzhen and commutes to Hong Kong daily to attend kindergarten since 2015.

HKDC ruled that an applicant’s status as a Hong Kong permanent resident no doubt establishes a connection with Hong Kong. With regard to whether a connection is substantial enough, the court stipulated that an artificially construed connection is not a substantial connection and a connection must be real in the sense, for example, that it has not been engineered for temporary tactical advantage. In this case, the court held that the applicant’s physical presence in Hong Kong by virtue of his daily commute to attend kindergarten established a sufficient connection with Hong Kong because “such presence is regular and not of transitory nature”.

It is an increasingly common phenomenon in Hong Kong for children with the right of abode in Hong Kong to reside in mainland China and commute daily to Hong Kong for education. This judgment therefore provides an assurance that Hong Kong courts has jurisdiction in relation to cases concerning parentage, legitimacy, or legitimation when it comes to applicants of this category.

For more information on the topic of family law, please see:

Butterworths Hong Kong Family Law Handbook – Third Edition

Halsbury’s Laws of Hong Kong – Family Law

Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong – Parent and Child Ordinance (Cap. 429)

Hong Kong Family Court Practice – Second Edition

Hong Kong Family Law Reports

For enquiries about the above publications, please contact your Account Manager via sales.hk@lexisnexis.com

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