Redcar-based Cygnet Law is calling for the abolition of an outdated law, which it says hundreds of Teessiders are unknowingly breaking every year.
The crime in question relates to the Legitimacy Act 1976, which requires newly wedded parents to re-register the birth of any child born prior to their tying the knot – even if the father is already listed on the birth certificate.
Cygnet Law, which offers legal services ranging from family law to property conveyancing, wants to see the law removed from the statute book to reflect modern society and legal practices.
The archaic law dates back to the days when the legitimacy of a child would affect their ability to inherit, however, modern laws mean that a person is eligible to inherit provided there is proof they are the child of the parent.
Parents wishing to stay within the rarely enforced law must pay around £10 to re-register their child’s birth or face a fine for the sum of £2.
John Robinson, a Solicitor and Director at Cygnet Law, said: “It’s time that this outdated law was abolished from the statute book. Society has moved on and for the most part, so has the law – yet this quirk remains, despite other inheritance laws being introduced.
“Although this part of the Legitimacy Act is very rarely there are a few cases where it has impacted on people’s lives. For example, recently a woman from Liverpool wasn’t able to get a passport because her parents failed to re-register her birth when they got married. This meant she wasn’t a British citizen, even though she was born here.
“There must be thousands of people in Teesside who are breaking this law without ever knowing, and, for the unlucky few who it does affect, it can be expensive and cause great inconvenience.”