The International Journal of Human Rights invites submissions for its special issue on The notion of maternal immunity in tort for pre-natal harms causing permanent disability for the born alive child: Human Rights Controversies. Papers for the special issue should focus on the human rights implications for both mother and born alive child of the grant or absence of a grant of maternal immunity for negligent cause of prenatal injury that results in permanent disability for the born alive child. Public policy, sociological, anthropological, and political data, where relevant, may be included in the papers if an author wishes. The central focus of the papers, however, should be an assessment of the strengths and/or weaknesses of the human rights/legal rationale for granting or denying a born alive child legal standing/legal capacity to sue the mother in tort in some or all instances for her negligence in causing permanent injury/disability to a born alive child that originated due to harms caused the child pre-natally. The papers thus should focus as the central theme on the issue of the grant or lack of grant of legal capacity/standing of the born alive child in such cases and not on the question of whether a fetus should be recognized in law as a person. However the implications for fetal rights of recognizing or failing to recognize the born alive child’s legal capacity to sue the mother in tort for permanent disabilities to the born alive child caused by the mother due to harms negligently inflicted pre-natally can be considered.
Different legal jurisdictions have handled such cases in different fashions. Some such as the UK have removed maternal immunity only in negligent driving cases holding that the mother’s general duty of care in driving should not be held to exclude the unborn. Thus in the UK the born alive child has legal standing to sue the mother in tort for having negligently caused pre-natal injuries in the context of driving which resulted in permanent disability to the born alive child . In contrast, the Supreme Court in Canada draws no distinction and denies the born alive child legal capacity to sue the mother for permanent injury originating pre-natally also in driving cases. Papers that consider the human rights implications of making or not making such a distinction in driving versus non-driving cases would be welcomed.
The Guest Editor encourages papers on both sides of the debate; that is papers that argue the merits of a human rights/legal rationale for maternal immunity from tort liability for prenatal injuries causing the born alive child permanent disability and conversely those that argue that there is a strong human rights/legal rationale for the grant of a born alive child’s standing/legal capacity to sue the mother for the child’s permanent disabilities relating to negligently caused prenatal injury attributable to the mother.
Papers should be submitted directly to Dr. Sonja Grover the Guest Editor of this special issue of the International Journal of Human Rights on The notion of maternal immunity in tort for pre-natal harms causing permanent disability for the born alive child: Human Rights Controversies.
Please submit papers directly to Dr. Grover no later than February 1st, 2017.
Guidelines: Articles should be no more than 8000 words including footnotes and should conform to IJHR’s style and referencing guidelines.
- Editor-in-Chief: Damien Short, University of London, UK