The Supreme Court has recently ruled to give the grandmother of a child custody over him despite the opposition of the boy’s father, who applied to have custody himself.

In the view of the Court, acting in the child’s best interests means that 'it is only as a contributor to the child’s welfare that parenthood assumes any significance’.

The child’s father was an ex-prisoner and his mother had problems with excessive drinking. The boy had been looked after by his grandmother since birth and a social worker considered him to be ‘thriving’ under her care.

When his biological parents applied for residence orders, the Court considered the boy’s bonds to his grandmother to be strong enough to reject their applications, despite the father having been assessed as capable of meeting the boy’s needs.