Starting from the observation that the law constructs a reality which may not correspond to ‘physical’ truth, this chapter starts by considering the way kin relationships have been designed to project a social order from one generation to successor generations. Legal concepts of legitimacy, illegitimacy, and the circumstances in which paternity is recognized subordinate recognizing biological reality to upholding a social order. But, while arguing that children's right to know their identity generally demands that their biological origins should be known, the chapter maintains that parents do not have an equivalent right to develop a relationship with a child for no other reason than that they are the child's parent, even though the parent may have a duty to support the child. The argument is developed in the context of the rights to family and private life in the European Convention on Human Rights.
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